Two days ago I hit the wall. The big, black parenting wall. Sometime in the murky hours of the morning it all just rolled into a great big ball of 'can't do it' . I resisted the urge to get into the car and drive off, not looking back. But it was tempting. I feel ashamed to admit it, but there it is.
I am nostalgic for the days when Harper would feed for ages then lie back on my lap with milk running down his chin and a sleepy look on his face like he was drunk. He was happy, pain-free, satisfied. Those were good days. Now I have to coerce him to eat anything because he's started to link food with reflux pain. I am lucky to get five minutes of eating out of him. He spits his reflux medicine back at me and I get so angry - I want to yell 'but this will help you! Don't you want to feel better?' Instead I try to talk calmly and sweetly to him in those high pitched tones he loves, and scoop the spat-out Gaviscon back into its cup for another go. Thank goodness we have bibs galore.
But a phone call to Bronwen (I am lucky to be part of a health service that includes my midwives, one of which, Bronwen, is a lactation consultant) and she's round within the hour rubbing my back and getting the Gaviscon into him herself. She allays my fears that my baby is starving and tells me to hang in there with the breastfeeding though it looks like luxury to just stick a bottle in his mouth. She wakes me up to myself, and I'm able to take a few steps back from the wall, put the car keys back in my bag and let myself off the hook for a while. Harper, sitting in his bouncinette, caws like a crow and hoots at the toys hanging on the baby gym. He's happy.
So today, things are much better, though I feel like we are getting by by the skin of our teeth right now. Plunket tomorrow, to check out if Harper is still the weight-gaining machine he was four weeks ago, or if this reflux is really affecting his health in more ways than just the pain. In the meantime, I'm reading Keri Smith's blog, who agrees with me that there is no 'right thing' in this parenting lark, and to accept that it is what it is, whatever it may be. And counting my blessings, of which these are the highlights:
1. The Postie
Awesome dad, keeps me calm(ish), takes good care of me
2. Friends and family
Especially those that provide us with food! If you know anyone with a young baby, cook them dinner tonight and take it to their house. It's one of the best presents you can give them.
3. Knowing that he will grow out of this
I met a woman at the Plunket Family Centre whose four-month-old boy screamed after every meal from day one of his life. And she got through it. So will we.
He's an awesome kid, who really is incredibly strong about all this. It must be a shite existence for him sometimes, but he still manages to giggle at his mother singing Incy Wincy Spider off key.