I have written to you so many times over the last year. You have been a permanent (if unwanted) feature in our home, in our lives.
You were a constant. Our reason. Something to fight with, to strive against.
We felt that if we could conquer you, everything would solved.
And battle you we did. From those early weeks of screaming, to the fear of milk that followed. We learnt to breastfeed in our sleep, and eventually during the day. We learnt about medications, we went to an osteopath.
We fought you in the night, as you woke us – sometimes as many as forty times. And we fought you during the day, when your pain meant we battled dehydration.
You stole, precious months from us. Moments were filled with worry and sadness when they should have been filled with joy.
You were the elephant in the room.
Our long awaited second baby, the little man we all love so much, didn’t have the start in life we wished for him. His sister, so loving of him, missed so much – of us and of her. Our priorities changed.
I’d never heard of infant reflux until you came along. And even if I had I could never have imagined just how much you would change our lives.
You altered our relationships not only with each other, but with our family and friends. You also showed us that love has no limits.
But, boy did you push those limits…
There were times, now looking back, when you nearly broke me. Times I stood in our bedroom rocking our son, planning my escape, from our life. Times when sleep deprivation meant my mind worked on overdrive. When I had no idea how my mind or body could survive another day.
I was a single mum for five years. I work with children with extreme behaviour. But nothing I have ever done is as hard as what you put me through.
You took us to the brink. Of our relationships and our sanity.
There is nothing to compare to the pain of seeing your child suffer and knowing you have no way to help them.
But now, finally you are gone.
We are free.
You have changed us. But you did not beat us.
You left us a legacy, and food continues to be a struggle. But our little man is no longer in pain. He is happy, he is smiling, he is free.
We no longer fill him with a cocktail of medications, a bad night is now seven or eight wake ups not forty. We are getting there, slowly but surely.
We are rebuilding our lives.
Because you did not win.
Family won. Our son won.
It’s been a long battle, but we have never been alone. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and they are right. We have blessed with an amazing real life tribe, and met so many mums in the online world who have (and who continue to walk) a similar path.
You have left us a legacy of good, as well as one of bad.
I cannot thank you, but my anger is dissipating. I will not let let your memory ruin our future.
We will be at peace.
So goodbye Reflux.
You have done your worst.
But we have won.