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I'm Back.

 
I'm back. I've been away for a long time, I know, but I'll try to be more active here from now on. The past year has been hard, harder than I ever thought it would be and harder than I care to admit. Being a mother should be the most natural thing in the world, but for me it didn't come naturally. I had a really hard time adjusting to the new role and I'm still not quite sure if I have really found my place. For an introvert to never be really alone is extremely exhausting.
 
For us this year has been extra hard because of Theo's allergies. The summer was horrible to be honest. My whole life revolved around Theo's skin and what he ate, trying to prevent him from scratching himself and putting everything he found in his mouth, to holding his hands while changing his diaper or dressing him, cutting his nails as short as possible, and writing down every single piece of food he ate. I had to stop breast feeding him at the age of 8 months, because it was easier to control what just he ate and not the both of us. Did you know that there are egg whites in Mars bars? Me neither, but I found that out while still breast feeding and wondering why my baby is constantly throwing up. Yes, he is that allergic to eggs. And no, I didnt eat more than just one Mars bar.
 
In the beginning of summer he had only 5 ingredients that he was allowed to eat: sweet potato, apple, pear, oats and organic beef as well as his baby formula. Later on we noticed that he is also allergic to milk protein and that he can't even handle beef, so we had to give up the formula and he's now growing stronger with the help of soya milk. My baby is a soya-milk drinking, organic and raw food eating hipster. How did this happen? At the moment Theo has almost 40 foods that he can safely eat, sounds like a lot but imagine restricting yourself to just that amount of raw ingredients, it's not that much after all. Also the list of things he can't eat has grown: eggs, milk, beef, corn and bananas.
 
His skin is so much better now. That also means he is calmer, less fussy, less clingy, happier and sleeps his nights much better. No more being awake in the middle of the night for hours trying to hold his hands so that he can't scratching himself until he bleeds. Sometimes his pyjamas had stuck to his skin in the morning because the skin underneath was so raw. It was horrible.
 
I became a bitter person during the summer. I started to compare our life to everyone else's, how other people's kids would run around the park in just t-shirts and shorts and I had to keep mine covered all the time to keep his skin safe. I also had to think if the skin was good enough to go to park at all or if I should be worried about it getting infected. Needless to say, we didn't go to the beach at all during the summer, Theo never go the change to swim in the sea. I also jealously watched how others posted photos of their kids eating strawberries or watermelon or icecream or sitting in a field of flowers or bathing in a tub on Instagram. Or just posting pictures of their kids whatever the surroundings, because at some point my baby's skin and face and everything looked so bad that I didn't even feel like taking his photo, let alone sharing it with anyone.
 
I started to shy away from social events and later even from going to the super market, because I didn't feel like explaining to everyone all the time what was wrong with Theo. His rash made me feel like a bad mother, like it was my fault that he scratched himself and I didn't know why. Instead of people commenting how beautiful my baby was, I was greeted with comments on how bad his skin looks, questions on what causes it and "helpful" stories about other people's babies that were allergic to strawberries, or milk, or peas or whatever. After a while I felt like I had heard it all. I just couldn't take the pity anymore. The comments were still better than the alternative: the people who just looked with poorly masked disgust, but not saying anything. This happened often at playgrounds, parents (and a bit older kids) who just looked at Theo but not daring to ask what's wrong with him. I could almost hear them thinking whether they should let their kids play with Theo at all, in case it is something contagious.
 
Everything is better now. We've found a way to live with his condition, and his skin is better now. Like I wrote, he is so much calmer and happier now, and so am I. But during this summer I was on a brink of burn-out, I was already so over-exhausted, sleep deprived and downright depressed that it took a long time for me to get better as well, still not quite there but almost. I decided quite early on that I didn't have the time or energy for this blog at the time and decided not to feel guilty about not writing. I would get back to it when I felt like it. I think the time is now. This blog post wasn't really knitting related or about anything I usually write about, but I felt like I needed to let you know what was going on in my life.
 
 
PS. How single mothers manage is beyond me. Respect.

Comments

  1. Pfiou it's hard reading this, being a mother is such a crazy journey, you three are doing a wonderful job! And recognizing that it's hard... it sometimes makes it much easier, as a start!
    Sending courage!

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  2. I don't know you in person, but reading your story brought tears to my eyes. You are doing a wonderful job. Yes, it's crazy hard but sounds like Theo could not have a better mum. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. I don't know you in person, but reading your story brought tears to my eyes. You are doing a wonderful job. Yes, it's crazy hard but sounds like Theo could not have a better mum. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Sari you are doing a wonderful job. You have faced challenges and risen to the occasion. That my friend is motherhood. I pray that things continue to improve for little Theo and for your family as a whole. Love, peace, and blessings - Kelsey

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  5. You're not alone! We all feel like we're not cut out for motherhood some days (okay, most of the time). Have you heard of Scary Mommy? Either read their website or "like" their page on FB to get stories in your newsfeed. It will make you feel so much better!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am not a mum (yet), so I can't know what it has been like for you and Theo (and Magnus), but honestly, shame on all those people for making you feel judged! We are all doing the best we can, and how anyone can judge a mum because her child cries, or has a rash, or prefers not to play with other kids (or whatever), is beyond me. So much solidarity with you.

    It sounds like you made the absolute right choice to let this go for a while. I'm really glad you're back and can't wait to hear about everything you've been making!

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  7. When I started reading, I was going to comment, motherhood is not something that comes naturally! I just had my own baby earlier this year and I don't think any of it is natural. But, then I continued reading, and oh man. You've had it tough. So glad that you've been able to get things under control!!!

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  8. Aw just the other day I was wondering why your blog was quiet lately, I had no idea you two were going through such a hard time. Theo seems to have a very caring and loving mum :) Good to see you posting again, and I hope your little one keeps feeling better, and you as well!

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  9. Stay strong momma! As a new mom myself earlier this year I had, and still have, moments wondering how I was going to get through this and how on Earth other moms, especially the single moms, manage and stay sane. Thank you for sharing your story and don't feel bad about your temporary leave :) We're just glad to hear from you again.

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  10. Oh man, big hugs for you!! You survived that crazy summer! Being a mom is natural but natural doesn't mean easy, not by a long shot. And you had it so much tougher than most with Theo's allergies. That is so restrictive, it mus thave been SO hard. Now that he can eat 40 things, it's better, but still so limiting. Lila had a dairy allergy when she was a baby, I was amazed at the milk 'ingredients' (not milk itself, but the various by-products) seemed to be in everything. Hang in there. It does get better. If I had the summer you had, I would have felt the same way, too. I admire it when moms put it out there when things are tough - not only because this isn't an easy job, but because you'd be amazed at how many others have been there, or felt the same, or totally get all the conflicting feelings that go along with the wild ride of parenting.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi,

    It sounds like he might've had what we in the US call eczema. There was an article in the Well section (I think) of the New York Times recently that said babies prone to eczema because a family member has/had it or has hay fever can help prevent baby eczema by slathering the child in Vaseline frequently for the first six months of their life. Just thought this might be helpful if you contemplate a second baby at some point.

    Babies who've had eczema are also more likely to have egg and peanut allergies. Sometimes an allergist can expose your child to small yet increasing amounts of allergens to help build up a tolerance. Allergies and eczema can both greatly improve or be outgrown over time as well :) .

    ReplyDelete

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