Like many of you, this season I reflect and give thanks to all that we have. I have much to be thankful for, in fact, if I made a list I’m not even sure if I would ever complete it. Picking just one to focus on is difficult, but this time of year one thing does come to mind; something I tend to do plenty of…… eat.
It’s been about 10 months since Gia was weaned from her feeding tube and 5 months since we removed it. This will be her third Thanksgiving, but only the first one she where she has actually eaten.
Last year at this time we had just called off Gia’s second attempt at a wean and I wasn’t in a good mental space to face the holiday food season. I found it pretty depressing to be around food and have a non-eating child who was vomiting several times daily. Parenting a child with a feeding disorder is one of the toughest challenges there is. In my experience, it is was a lot more difficult than dealing with all of Gia’s others issues combined. There is no magic surgery for feeding issues. While there are plenty of opinions, there is no one answer. Plain and simple, there is no break because your child needs to eat. And all you want to do is to feed your child.
It is also that is really hard to understand unless you’d lived it. Before Gia was born, I never gave any thought to how incredibly complicated eating actually is. So many factors involved and complex coordinating movements, it’s a wonder that it comes so naturally to most. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that sometimes people just can’t understand feeding issues. I’ve had comments from helpful individuals telling me Gia must just be picky, perhaps I’m just not offering her the right items. Or maybe the vomiting was due to my breast milk? Or that I was giving her blended food instead of formula? Or perhaps I needed to spend more time trying to orally stimulate her mouth? She must have low-muscle tone? Did I try……? Overall, the consensus was that we would just have to wait, for what I’m still not sure. If I sound frustrated, it is because I was and am. It is hard being a parent and when feeding issues are involved it just makes everything much harder.
So this Thanksgiving I will remember those parents who are facing the food season with dread. I will never forget the food struggles we faced everyday and I feel your pain. You are strong and you know what is best for your child.
And I am thankful everyday for a little girl who, with a lot of hard work, persistence, and tremendous luck, went from only playing with food….
…. to eating it.
In our family, from this point forward Thanksgiving will be known as “ThanksEATing Day” and I’m really going to enjoy it.