If you read nothing more than this paragraph. Be gracious with yourself. This life isn’t easy, parenthood isn’t easy. Children with health issues make life so much harder. But you matter. Your health matters. Your children need you to be healthy too! Love your self so you can love them the best you can.
Parenthood is hard!!
“According to the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, within three years of the birth of a child, approximately two-thirds of couples find that the quality of their relationship declines and within five years of the birth of a first child, 13 percent of marriages end in divorce for couples who were married at the time of the child’s birth. The five-year dissolution rate rises to 39 percent for couples who were living together at the time of the first child’s birth” (quote from babble link below).
This is the society we live in and having children is hard enough!!
Without allergies, intolerances, mast cell issues, FPIES, FPIAP, limiting diets, health care appointments, medications, treatments, ointments, creams, eczema, asthma, neurological symptoms; advocating daily for our children’s health to ourselves, our partners, our friends family and the professionals we encounter.
Parenting is hard enough, parenting a child with under appreciated health concerns, is like parenting walking on hot coals!
In “the life you never expected” they compare having a child with additional needs as being the equivalent of being gifted an orange 🍊 when all those around you are given chocolate oranges. Though theirs may be sweeter, more indulgent as a treat. Yours is better for you, even if it can be a bit sharp and pithy at times. This is so true.
Our journeys, though exhausting and challenging, can be such big opportunities to grow and learn as people, parents and individuals.
Breastfeeding can be so blessing but compound the feelings of getting touched out, as your baby takes all their comfort and nutrition from you, which though it can be an amazing experience. It can also feel like a huge responsibility. Especially when your child has health issues that require more from you.
Dietary modifications, can be such a difficult path to go on. Especially if you have no experience in restricted diets. Most people are overwhelmed, daunted and make mistakes when they start eliminating foods. Hidden dairy can be a nightmare, but that has nothing on hidden soya, which in turn doesn’t even touch on hidden corn and even latex.
Even if you have experience cutting foods from your diet, it can be an enormous leap from being lactose or gluten free, to top8 free or on a total elimination diet. We’re all at different stages in our walk.
Though it can be really easy to be jaded by our experiences and forget how hard it was at the beginning, it’s important to be gracious with those who are, even if we’re mentally comparing how much harder it is to avoid XYZ or go on a TED.
It is so important. In the perinatal and especially the postpartum period there is so much happening in your body hormonally, not even considering where your health was at before. Emotional health can also be crazily impacted by health stress, relationship stress, and financial stress, which can all come with children. Even more so on extreme elimination diets when you have to buy exorbitant quantities of your safe foods just to hit enough calories a day to make milk without losing a crazy amount of weight (which can have its own side effects).
Self care can be so hard when you have a little person dependent on you, but whether it’s asking someone to keep an eye on them so you can have 10minutes to yourself to breathe, or reading something you enjoy while nursing. Getting what you can early on, and remembering to prioritise yourself too, can really help when you feel like your sanity is being stretched thin.
BUT if you have a history of mental health conditions, including depression, and you know your struggling, there is **NO SHAME** in acknowledging that! Getting help can be so important to helping yourself and consequently your little one. You need to look after yourself, so you can look after someone else! Medications can be helpful, and many are safe when nursing. There are also lots of other things like counselling or nutritional things like increasing magnesium which are well documented to improve symptoms of depression among other things.
In an ideal world there would be no need for a TED. But we don’t live in an ideal world.
In an ideal TED we would be in the best physical and mental health to deal with the challenges to come; we’d have all the support we need from those around us, spouses, family, friends and professionals; we’d have all the finance we need to support our safe foods, supplements, medications and tests; we’d have guidance from a professional who appreciates the role of diet in health and can guide us in any forms of supplements or medications to support a baseline or healing; we would quickly see the rewards for our labours and find our safe foods quickly and pass more than we fail from the get go.
But this is UNICORN RARE!!!
Most Mamas don’t have much support personal and professional; many struggle with finance; many struggle with their spouse not understanding their TED or respecting their or their child’s limitations; many struggle with their own health both mental and physical.
If you can’t do everything you want to, be gentle with yourself, you are human.
If you struggle to reach a baseline and know you can’t cut any more foods out? Be gracious with yourself, know your limitations. Maybe look at our “baseline struggles” post (coming soon) for some inspiration or ideas to try.
If you are struggling and want to try formula, or feel like you need to for your sanity or your family, or families quality of life. It is completely your decision. Our community is all about informed consent and supporting mamas in doing what is best for their little ones and their families. As amazing as breastmilk is sometimes situations mean formula is needed in supplementation or as an alternative. That is why formula was made. There is no shame in using something for its purpose.
What ever you do, know you are amazing, know you’re doing your best and your little one loves you. Your efforts matter. Your mental health matters. TED mamas’ Got your back.
TED Mamas Community
If you are planning to go Top 8+ free or do a TED for a nurseling, and you are on Facebook, we’d love to support you through our “TED mamas” community. Please see “Basics: Joining TED mamas…” for the membership questions and criteria.
For those with an older child and non-nurselings with extreme allergies we have “TED Allergy Families”.
You can also follow my page “TED mum” on Facebook.
Links to the groups and pages can all be found at “The Journey Begins”
nutrition and mental health
The life you never expected: