I want to talk about a new philosophy I’ve learned as a mom. There have already been many of them, and I’m sure there will be many more. But this is the one I want to talk about, because it’s the one I need most right now.
Since my son was born, we’ve become well-acquainted with his pediatrician, mostly due to a problem that started cropping up in his second month: milk protein intolerance. We’re exclusively breastfeeding, and what this means is that my son has a reaction to dairy if I eat it. This reaction was manifesting as blood in his poop. Terrifying, right?
If there’s one thing true about me, it’s that I’m stubborn. I feel that I worked too hard and went through too much pain in the beginning of breastfeeding for it to become comfortable and a good bonding experience for us, so I sure as hell don’t want to stop until I feel he has reaped the full benefits! So, the answer was simple: cut out all dairy from my diet, even “hidden” dairy in the ingredients section disguised as whey, casein, buttermilk, etc. I scoured allergen information for restaurants. I became intimately familiar with the all-bold MILK pronouncement on the ingredients section of foods, often followed by a “Really?!?!” and a groan. My husband also became familiar with these things, since he does a lot of our shopping and wants to help support my success with the diet (isn’t he cool?).
Some of the things that include dairy are surprising: the particular brand of Worcestershire sauce in our fridge, for one. McDonald’s fries (yeah, look it up!). Certain pretzels. I no longer eat anything processed if I can’t examine the ingredients, because milk inclusion in processed foods has no reliable pattern.
Every time since the diagnosis, when my son has a bowel movement, I also
get a small amount of anxiety. I get anxiety because I’m afraid to open the diaper and see blood in it again. Afraid we’ll have to go to the doctor again this week only to be told to “keep monitoring it” and that “all dairy may not be out of your systems yet.” Afraid of the next step in the elimination diet, if that’s necessary. Will it be soy? Will it be wheat? Will I be able to cope with the diet changes if that’s the case?
Then my husband said something to me one morning that made a lot of sense (cue husband’s I’m right! bragging).
“One poo at a time,” he said. “Just take it one poo at a time.”
And that’s what I’m trying to do right now, guys. With everything, not just this. I suggest you do that too.
Poo happens. Take it one poo at a time.