By Casey Liss

As a parent, there are times you would give everything you had to make something better for your child. As is often the case in life, the times you want to help the most, you’re the most unable to do anything.

Over the weekend, Declan wasn’t feeling well. He’s fine now — without getting into the details, he had to endure some temporary but significant discomfort while at home.

Generally a very happy baby, it’s rare that he’s upset for more than a few moments. When Declan is crying — really crying, we take notice. It’s uncommon for him to wail just for the sake of being fussy.

Over the weekend, Declan went from content to unhappy to upset to inconsolable nearly instantly. Erin and I were pretty convinced we knew what the problem was, but we were completely unable to help. We just had to ride it out with him.

To watch your child lay there, writhing, screaming bloody murder, is impossible and intolerable. It is one of the worst pains I’ve ever experienced.

At a glance, it seemed most similar to when Erin gave birth to Declan. Even with an epidural, it was clear she was going through something that took everything out of her. I was just along for the ride, trying desperately to figure out something — anything — I could do to help her.

There was nothing I could do but be there, and encourage her. I knew she could handle it. She knew better than I that it would all be over [not] soon enough, and we would soon meet our son.

For Declan, it’s not so simple. He’s just shy of seven months. He doesn’t understand when I tell him “Just hold on, it’ll be over soon”. All he knows is that he hurts, and he doesn’t understand it.

He looks up at me, and at Erin, with pain across his eyes. You can see what he’s thinking, even though he doesn’t grasp language: “Why are you letting this continue? Why aren’t you fixing this?”

It’s heartbreaking.

The only thing I could do is to be there for him, and for Erin. To stay composed, while I was dying inside. To assure the two of them that it would be okay, and it will be over soon.

I did, and it was.

And once it was over, I stepped away, and I cried my eyes out.