Blizzards and ice storms have certainly been in the news recently. The storms have caused power outages, school closings and other problems large and small. Winter weather causes a lot of people to feel trapped and cut off from other people. It is a lot like having a baby with reflux--parents often feel trapped at home, lonely and isolated from the rest of the world.
Moms especially are often stuck at home providing round the clock care, such as feeding, holding and comforting. It can be an overwhelming task to go out with your baby. She vomits unexpectedly and cries when she is strapped in the car seat. You cannot stand the thought of going to a store with a shrieking baby. So you just stay home. You might spend the entire day in the same chair, moving only to refresh the bottle or change the diaper. You don’t have time to talk on the phone because it means juggling the phone and your baby. While it would be comforting to go on the internet and seek support, it is too hard to balance the baby and the keyboard.
Perhaps your spouse or a friend will deliver the necessities. Otherwise, you just wait until daddy comes home and rush off to run some essential errands. You might feel a sense of fear about leaving your baby. Some babies with reflux are very picky about nursing on demand or having the bottle held just so. By the time you explain all of this to someone else, you are too exhausted to go out. The whole time, you are worried that your baby is crying or worse in your absence. Often you are the only person who can calm your baby. You just can’t be replaced!
When I hear people complain about being without power for a few hours or being trapped at home with their healthy kids, I remember when my refluxers were little. The only outings I would dare were: doctor, pharmacy and grocery store. I planned ahead and bought in bulk. I never knew when I would get back to the store so I always filled my cart. I know friends and family thought I was isolating myself. But sometimes going out, even for a social event, was exhausting. When you have to cancel a dinner or outing over and over because the baby is sick, it can be misconstrued as lack of interest or avoidance. Some friends weathered the storm of reflux with me, others did not. But along the way, I found new friends and support. Little by little, I broke the cycle. Little by little, I found a moment to call a friend or go out. The friends and family who stayed with me through it all sustained me until the storm clouds cleared.
Published On: February 15, 2007