Pass/FailAugust 23, 2010 at 5:22 am | Posted in Bun | 29 Comments
Tags: Babies, Challenges, Food, Health, Motherhood, Perspectives, Problem Solving, Relationships
This picture is deceiving.
My baby, my marshmallow puff, won’t eat.
It’s been a month. We saw the doctor. I held him down while they poured radium into his throat and took pictures of his stomach. Everything looked normal, better than normal.
We switched bottles, we switched formula, and we switched bottles again. We tried hotter, colder, darker, lighter, sitting, standing, inside, outside, quiet, and loud. Nothing helped.
My baby just won’t eat. So we dance.
When he’s distracted by the movement, by the light from the window, by the reflection of the shiny pots in the kitchen, he’ll take a few ounces before he remembers he doesn’t really want it. And so we dance and we cry and we fight each other. Sometimes, I win. Sometimes, he does.
Most of the time? I can’t get my baby to eat as much as he needs. Most of the time? I feel like I am failing. Like I am failing him.
One evening last week, Bun and I swayed our way across the kitchen as he drank four ounces. Not good, but as good as it gets these days.
I sat down to burp him and rest my aching legs and arms. I held Bun close and closed my eyes. I told my husband how frustrated I was, how I didn’t know how much longer I could do this.
And my husband — a problem-solver, an engineer, an efficiency expert, a dad — said just the thing I didn’t know I needed to hear. “When you try to feed him, you think you’re a failure,” he said. “When I see you feed him, I think you’re amazing. No one else can do that. No one else can get him to eat. Somehow, you do. And somehow, you will. That’s amazing.”
I don’t feel amazing. I feel worn out and frustrated. But his perspective reminded me that Bun and I are hardwired to thrive. That we’re stronger together. That we won’t fail.
We’ll figure this out. And in the meantime, we’ll dance.
Have you ever felt like a failure at an essential mothering responsibility? Ever needed a fresh perspective to strengthen your resolve? Ever had a baby on a hunger strike??