Manage the Stress of A Fussy Reflux Baby: Motherhood is Not Easy
Before my kids were born I worked as a pediatric physical therapist. I knew of reflux generally but didn't know a lot of specifics and didn't "look" for it despite a strong family history and despite my own lingering issues that hadn't yet been diagnosed as reflux. I still work as a therapist part-time but I am now known as the "reflux queen." I know how to spot 'em. Many of the kids we work with have feeding issues. I help the parents rule out reflux as a cause of the reflux although more times than not reflux becomes a major factor in the feeding issues, irritability, etc. I also think I've become a more effective therapist by understanding the stress and difficulty that a baby who doesn't fit the mold can bring.
My daughter (oldest of three) was a miserable baby. I really thought something was wrong with me, after all I wanted this screaming little monster. Why didn't I like her? One day, when my husband got home, I handed her over and said "We are two educated, intelligent parents who really wanted this baby. Thank God, because I know how abuse happens." I realized that day how easy it would be to shake her and say "Would you stop crying." I have since learned that there are many mothers who look around and think that everyone else is obviously very happy with their babies so they must not be good mothers. This is what I call the "Motherhood Myth."
Being a Mom is one of the most rewarding things but at the same time it's hard and we don't have to always like it. That doesn't make us bad Moms it makes us real Moms. We all need to be a little more okay with expressing that it's not always so easy. I'm certainly not saying we want to go around griping about every little thing - that wouldn't be productive, but sharing with others that it's hard helps us all. I think by admitting it we are better able to deal with the stressors of everyday. While I think this myth and the misery that goes along with it applies to many parents, I think parents of children with disabilities are most affected
By my second, I knew I was a good Mom. I loved my 1st immeasurably and had come to enjoy her in her toddlerhood. I knew that infancy is not my favorite stage and instead was a time to get through. I became more vocal about my babies when people would ask "Is he a good baby?" So, with my second came the realization that no one really wants the answer to that question unless you have the perfect baby. By my third, I walked around telling people who asked "Are you ready to have that baby?" "Nope, easier in than out." And, when they inevitably asked the "Is he a good baby?" question, I was prepared. "No, I have miserable babies but they grow up to be GREAT kids." My confidence as a mother grew with each birth of a miserable infant, making it easier on all of us.