Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Challenge

The longer I have children, the less judgemental I become. I think as I have more children I will become even less judgemental than I am now. No two kids are alike, it really is true. When I set out to have a family, I had all these ideals, all these plans for my family. We would eat right and be healthy. I would discipline them so they would mind. I would never put my kids before my marriage. My kids would love each other and be kind to each other. I still believe those things, but they don't necessarily happen the way I thought. They require daily thought, daily work. They do not happen on their own, in spite of how deeply I believe in them.

In addition, I have found that life wasn't what I thought it would be. There is no formula for a carefree life. You can do everything right and still have problems. I believe that many of the health issues that Hannah has are a result of the trauma that surrounded her birth. Her tiny body was subjected to intense stress in the 2 weeks before and 5 weeks after her birth. I did everything right during that pregnancy - everything I had control over. But I couldn't control all of it, and none of us can.

I have a feeling that most mothers will be confronted with at least one big challenge while raising their children - at least one thing that will require everything they have (and really, much more than they have.) The one I currently have is Hannah's health. Just the gluten issue alone is a challenge. I head up a support forum for gluten intolerance, and often people will join it and write panicked, breathless posts about how they cannot see any way they will feed their children like this for the rest of their lives. I remember having that feeling as I researched gluten, and slowly realized what it meant. However, my daughter - who could very easily have been diagnosed with some terrible syndrome otherwise - is NORMAL, happy, smart and very very sweet. Gluten is like being on drugs for her though. She would have been a totally different human being apart from a gluten free diet. To me, this is reason to celebrate. We know how to be well!

My brother watches Montel so he can laugh at it, and he had this guest on who had a child labeled as handicapped. They put the child on a gluten free diet, and there was 100% improvement. I am forever grateful that we caught this early with Hannah, that she is able to develop normally, and not suffer needlessly.

Even more is asked of me though, because Hannah's stomach is continuing to have problems, even with no gluten, yeast, dairy, egg, soy, or sugar. Here's where the judgementalism comes in. I remember seeing mothers, back before I had kids, who would not allow their children to eat ANYTHING. I remember thinking they were nuts. That they were going way overboard. Life has a way of bringing those kinds of thoughts full-circle. I have had to become that mother, by no choice of my own. I have been entrusted with this child who desperately needs my protection, my guidance, so that she can live a full life in health rather than in sickness.

During this time in her life, that requires that I be very protective of what Hannah eats. This is HARD - even for me! I fed Hannah absolutely nothing that could possibly hurt her stomach yesterday. I know she's a little bothered by beans, tomatoes, and any large amounts of carbs, in addition to the things Dr P found. She may need to eat only turkey deli meat (all natural, of course), brown rice crackers, herbal tea, avocado, blueberries, oranges and natural all-beef hot dogs, for a while. Hopefully we can add in more things once we figure out what in the world is bothering her so much. She tells me several times a day, every day, that her stomach hurts "real bad." She's never been...ahem...regular...in her life. I cannot expect her to potty-train easily if she's hurting that much.

I got very discouraged about all of this just yesterday. And yet I feel honored to be trusted with it. "To whom much is given, much is required."

What do you guys think? Do you have similar challenges?


  1. I practically shot my coffee out my nose reading that post. I agree we all have our stuff to deal with. I use to judge those mom's in the grocery store whose kids would be yelling MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY and the mom never acknowledges them. I am now that mom. I have soooo tuned out the constant talking that sometimes I don't hear anyone anymore. Chris will walk in the room and say something to me and I am unaware because I am always in mental preservation mode.

    I think we all have ideas about how marriage will be or how motherhood will be, but you just don't understand until you are there. I was sitting on my couch the other morning and I started to look at the pictures on my entertainment center. One picture is of Chris and I on our wedding day and the other is of Chris holding Cole when Cole was about 3/mo old. I thought "wow how did I get here" This is all I ever dreamed of and now I have it.

    Despite all the ups and downs--I feel undeserving sometimes. I have been deeply blessed.

  2. Wow Sara I had no idea you had to deal with so much with Hannah's eating. That must take so much brain energy. Sometimes I get exhausted trying to come up with things Kadence will eat every day, and she doesn't have any dietary restrictions. I can't imagine how stressful this must get for you. Thank God that you were able to have this pinpointed so early and that you are able to do what she needs to stay well! You are an amazing mom and those girls are so blessed that God provided someone who will take such good care of them.

  3. I believe life with children, in general, is a challenge.

    More and more, though, I'm beginning to realize the "challenge" I present to God. If my naive, uneducated-in-worldly-things children are a challenge, what a challenge I, the educated-in-worldly-things/not-so-naive one, must be.


    Anyway, how about in-laws? Do those count as a challenge?

  4. I have 3 girls and the oldest and youngest make perfect grades. My middle daughter struggles some in school and it is a constant struggle. To encourage her, but not make her feel like she is being compared to the other two. Then somehow make the other two feel good about how good they are doing...I feel like I'm on a roller coaster, thankfully this only comes around at report card time and not every day like this is for you! I can only imagine how hard it is.