H-Bear turns two in just over two weeks time, and I have to admit that I’m only just starting to mentally process the first year of his life.
I feel like I lost the Baby Days with him. That I was cheated out of them. That Silent Reflux stole them from me.
I put up walls and blocked out memories to try and cope. To try and grasp some light in the wilderness. To try and convince myself that it wasn’t all bad.
But, when all your baby does is scream 24/7.
When you’re suffering from extreme sleep deprivation because you haven’t slept for more than a three hour block a night (if you’re lucky) in 10 months.
And when you reach the point where you can’t even leave the house anymore, because you’re too terrified of being judged for having such an ‘unhappy’ baby.
What else can you do?
The battling with doctors to be heard. The battling with your brain to try and reason with yourself. The battling with hearing your child in constant pain, and feeling so utterly useless because nothing you do seems to help.
I would stare at my reflection in the mirror. My bloated, tear-stained, exhausted face, and wonder what on earth I had done to deserve this punishment. I felt like my baby. My own beautiful baby boy, was a form of torture to see how strong I was. I honestly thought he was a test to see how long it would take me to walk out and leave.
And I thought about it. I thought about leaving every time he began screaming again. Of getting up and just walking out of the door, leaving his wails behind me.
I didn’t. I couldn’t. He is my baby. He was in pain. And I had to keep reminding myself that as much as it hurt me, it hurt him more.
Almost two years on and the change is remarkable. H-Bear was diagnosed with a Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) and soya allergy. We introduced a dummy for his reflux. And as soon as he was walking, his reflux seemed to calm down. And he started to sleep.
Sadly, I don’t look back on his baby days with blissful, rose-tinted glasses as I do with his sister. Instead I grieve for the weeks lost to pain and tears. I grieve for the time lost in pointless appointments where doctors wouldn’t listen and would reply with a stoic “Well, babies cry”. And mostly, I grieve for the pain my baby felt for the first few months of his life, and for the Mother that I wanted to be for him, but couldn’t.
But I am allowed to grieve. As are you – and I know there are so many other parents out there who feel the same. Who have been through it. Who are still going through it.
Talk about it, when you feel ready. Write it down if you can’t. Join one of the many amazingly supportive Facebook groups out there.
And please remember: You are not alone.