Sometimes

Most of the time I look at F and I think that you’d never know he’d ever struggled. You’d never know that there was a time when he spent whole days just screaming in pain. You’d never know that his weight had ever started to nosedive down the centiles. You’d never know that he had to sleep in a swaddling bag for the first year of his life just to feel comforted.

But every now and again, I see glimpses of the things that reflux has left behind.

F has a sensitive gag reflex. So sensitive that he gags on most foods apart from yoghurt. Sometimes he still throws up, especially if he isn’t keen on the taste of the food to begin with.

He also still seeks out the comfort of that swaddling bag sometimes by pulling his arms into his sleepsack, particularly when he’s not feeling well.

F is clearly thriving and, despite a very slight developmental delay caused by his reflux, most of the time he eats well. But mealtimes are when his past battles show their most obvious scars. Most of his meals are still puréed at 21 months old. He will eat finger foods – breadsticks, fruit, rice cakes – quite happily, but offer him baked beans or scrambled egg and he will try it, gag on it and refuse to have anything further to do with it. It means that I am often the subject of judgemental stares and scathing stage whispers when I take my children out for a meal. I’ve learnt to block it out for the most part, but sometimes one of those comments still gets through. Sometimes I still feel those stares.

“Why is he still eating baby food? He must be almost two?”

“Why is she still trying to get her kid to eat? He’s crying. He’s obviously not hungry.”

“How come the other kid is eating normally?”

There are days when I wish the ground would just swallow me up during these outings. But there are other days when I want to get up, walk over to these people and ask them why the fuck they think they have a right to judge my parenting when they don’t know a damned thing about my child.

hungry baby

Here’s the thing: sometimes this is hard for all of us. Sometimes I lie awake and I worry about the future. I wonder if there will ever be such a thing as a “normal” meal for F and I worry. He didn’t start to get teeth until he was over a year old – which was a good thing, because if he had gotten them earlier they would have been ruined by stomach acid -, but people don’t know that. They don’t know that he isn’t the same as his brother. They don’t know how hard some days are for him, and that’s the point: this is hard for him.

Yes, the stares and the whispers are horrible for me. But it’s not myself I feel the hurt and the anger for; I feel it for him. I feel it because I wish that he didn’t have the legacy of this condition to deal with. I feel it because I want to protect him from that judgement. And I feel it because I love my children more than anything on this Earth and I don’t want them to find out how cruel people can be just yet.

The truth is that I don’t really know whether or not these things are permanent, and I wish that there was something I could do to fix it. But I think this is just what we’ve been left with, and it’s okay really. It feels like a long time since I would stagger out of bed at 1AM, 2AM, 3:30AM and so on just to sit in the dark beside his cot and whisper that it would be okay while he struggled to sleep and grizzled through the discomfort.

I know that we’ve come a long way and that F will continue to get better, and I know that we will keep finding our way as we go.

That’s just what we do.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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20 comments

  1. themotherhub · July 10, 2016

    I can identify – my son has ASD and we get some looks out and about if he is having a meltdown. You have no idea what is happening in someone else’s life so put your judgey pants away! I hope things get easier for you and I’m sure you’re doing a great job

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · July 11, 2016

      I think that definitely must be much harder than what we are going through. But you’re so right; the judgements are so unnecessary and so unfair!

      Like

  2. Bread · July 11, 2016

    I work in a pharmacy and we have a few prescriptions for anti-reflux stuff for babies and I can’t imagine how hard it is for both mother and baby to a have to resort to some of this stuff. Take care. You’re doing great
    #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · July 11, 2016

      Thank you :). I think we’ve been through the hardest days, but some days are easier than others.

      Like

  3. discombubulated · July 11, 2016

    I have friends who have been through this. So unfair to have to deal with this and for your little boy to suffer like this. Feeding little ones is so stressful as it is, without this added condition. Gosh I admire you. You sound like you’re doing a great job. Thanks for a great post. #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · July 11, 2016

      I’ve spoken to a lot of reflux parents and feel very lucky that we have at least been able to wean him off the medication. Some of the moms I talked to had children who were still suffering with really severe symptoms at 12 years old and I can’t imagine how hard that must be. So I know that it could be so much worse, but I just hate how hard this is for him sometimes. He’s such a happy, brave little boy. He’s my hero.

      Like

  4. Savannah (@HowHesRaised) · July 11, 2016

    My son has a pretty severe tongue tie, that we didn’t discover until he was over a year old. Now, at 15 months, he’s JUST starting to eat. His gag reflex is also extremely sensitive. Feeding children is such a stressful thing, isn’t it? I honestly couldn’t imagine having the eating issues you and little F are though. I know there were probably many nights you sat up, petrified. And, now that your son is eating-even if it is purees, you feel damn successful. I know those comments aren’t fair, and they’re most definitely not thought out. But, continue standing on your mountain, mama! You are doing a wonderful job ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · July 11, 2016

      It’s so hard, isn’t it? And it’s something we constantly worry about because all you hear all the time is how important it is to establish good, healthy eating habits while they’re young. I hope he will be more comfortable with more foods as he gets older, but I know that I just have to cross the bridges as I come to them. And I’m so, so lucky that he’s such s strong, brave little boy. I wish you all the luck in the world with your future feeding endeavours; we will all get there in the end!

      Like

  5. Dr Mummykins · July 12, 2016

    Another mum of a reflux baby here… My oldest still gags on certain foods, but now she is 3 we have more or less finally shaken off those reflux/gagging days. I so wish people would stare less… Judge less. But it sounds like you are positive and determined, that’s what counts. (PS cute pic!) #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Unsung Mjm · July 13, 2016

    Another silent reflux mum here. I can really relate to this as fret having 6 months in pain we where finally told what to do and given meds. People used to stare, asked why she was still crying even though she’d been fed, changed etc reflux changed my life. When I was preggo with no2 I was so scared that she would have it too. Living through it once was hell and I didn’t think I could face it again. Luckily she didn’t and latched, kept milk down and is ace with food but it does change you. It does. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · July 13, 2016

      The stares have always been the worst part, and I feel it for him because it’s not his fault. Eating is hard for him, and it’s really a miracle that he wants to eat at all after everything he went through. It’s always a relief when I come across another reflux mom because sometimes I feel like it shouldn’t be a big deal, but it was and it still is.

      Like

  7. The Speed Bump · July 13, 2016

    Sounds like you’ve had a very long journey to get here, but your attitude and outlook is so optimistic and positive, and that’s great to read! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · July 14, 2016

      Thank you, that’s really lovely of you. I haven’t always felt like this; I went to some very dark places when F was a baby. But we’ve come such a long way and I’m just brimming over with pride for the child he has become in spite of everything.

      Like

  8. Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) · July 13, 2016

    I don’t know why everyone feels they have to judge people on a few minutes observation of their life, as if that can tell them the whole story. 😦 x #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · July 14, 2016

      I don’t get it either. Even if they’re thinking I’m a hopeless, clueless mother, can’t they just keep it to themselves?! X

      Like

  9. TeamMomLife (@TeamMomLife) · July 14, 2016

    We were lucky and had a more mild form of reflux but man was it difficult. I’m sorry you both have such a rough go of it. It is so hard to see your little one be sick and uncomfortable. And I’m sorry people are so judgmental. It’s crazy how quick people are to judge your parenting when you never know what a mother, kid, or family might be dealing with at any given time. I hope things continue to get better for you all and that he is able to really enjoy mealtime. Thanks for sharing your journey. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · July 14, 2016

      I don’t think anyone understands how hard it is and how much it affects you and your whole family dynamic until they’ve been through it. It’s the toughest things we’ve ever had to deal with, but I wouldn’t change it. I think it made us stronger as a family and I know that it is one of the major reasons why F and I have such a strong bond today. It was hard, and sometimes it still is, but I will never stop being grateful for and inspired by how amazingly F has handled it all.

      Like

  10. Over Heaven's Hill · July 14, 2016

    No one has a right to judge and well done for being brave and blocking most of it out. Parenting is hard enough without extras to deal with but you’re doing a great job Momma #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  11. nickykentisbeer · July 14, 2016

    No one can understand really can they unless they have been though it themselves. It sounds like you are doing wonderfully and you don’t need to be accountable to any one else. Save your energy for where it’s needed most. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A Moment with Franca · July 16, 2016

    I don’t like when people judge without knowing the real facts. It is so frustrating. Parenting is not easy at all. I think you are doing wonderful. You are a great mother! Keep strong. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS, 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

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