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F*** You, Reflux: A Poem

poetry reflux Dec 10, 2017

With permission from the amazing Jessica Wimer, I have changed her original blog on www.ScaryMommy.com into a poem.  I honestly believed I had seen this in poem version before, but Jessica assures me she is not aware of it!


Jessica is a mom, a certified lactation consultant and is passionate about providing superior support to breastfeeding mums and supporting bottle fed babies with latch challenges. 

 

To be honest, I think that this poem represents a wide population of reflux mums out there.  There are elements of this that may resonate with a lot of people.  When I read it, I imagine a superhero of a mother, fighting, believing, supporting and crying with and for her baby.  And then I realise that this is me too.

 

Thank you Jessica for helping me see the hero in me.  I hope that many more mums see the hero inside from this amazing piece of writing.

 

Now for that amazing poem, thank you Jessica for letting me share this.  I am truly honoured.

 

Fuck you, Reflux

By Jessica Wimer

My sweet beautiful baby girl.
How lovely she is.
But who would have known?

Because of you, she has been dubbed
“the bad baby”,
“the difficult baby”, and
“the crier”.

 

No one but me knew
there was a sweet laughing baby
trapped in her arching, thrusting, screams.

 

No one but me.

 

If I’m totally honest,
there were even days I struggled
to find love for my bundle of joy.

 

After hours of crying,
shushing,

bouncing,

vomiting,
I had little space left for joy.

There was no room for tender moments
between mother and new baby.

 

No time left for stolen kisses,
edible toes,
or breastfeeding snoozes.

 

Those priceless moments were stolen from us,
for my baby’s infancy was a war zone
soaked by a trail of tears.

My beautiful baby girl was struggling for breath,
for food,
for sleep,
and it is all your fault.

 

Fuck you, Reflux.
You stole so much from us.

 

Fuck you, Reflux,
for the all the sleepless nights.
As soon as the sun would set,
my husband and I would put on our marching boots.
Our little girl would start squirming,
fussing, crying, and finally wailing.
All the shushing and bouncing in the world
could not stanch the tidal wave
that consumed us every night.

 

During the day, the crying was manageable.
As long as I 
never 
put her down,
we could function.

 

We managed.

 

We survived.

 

At night, the tenuous hold I had
would be stripped away, 
your full force would overwhelm us.


How many nights did we march

you around the yard?
Hour after hour,
we marched.
And why? I don’t know.
It seemed to marginally help
keep the screams at bay.

 

It gave us purpose when we felt so impotent.

 

How many nights did I finally stop
marching and simply sob
while I clutched my howling baby in my arms?

 

Too many to count.

 

So my baby screamed,
and screamed,
and screamed
until she finally had no fight left
and would pass into a fitful sleep.
But there was no rest for the weary.
Hour after hour she would
choke,

gag,

vomit,

cry.


The only place she could find respite
was prone on my chest
while I sat bolt upright in bed.
For months, none of us slept.

 

I am so tired.

 

So very fucking tired.

 

Fuck you, Reflux.

 

Fuck you, Reflux,
for making me feel so totally completely alone.
I felt like a prisoner in my own home.

 

Where could I go?

 

Because of you,
my baby cried all the time.
In the car, in the store, at Chick-fil-A,
at the doctor, at home,
everywhere we cried.

 

No one could watch my crying baby,
the only person she wanted was me.

 

I couldn’t even go to work
without my baby screaming
the entire time I was gone.
I stopped leaving.
I stopped going.
My crying baby was
permanently attached to me.

 

When I tried to reach out,
to tell people of our struggles, 
very few truly understood.
Placating comments hardened my heart.
How weary I grew of hearing
what “a short season” this is,
or “it’s so worth it for such a beautiful baby,”
or “it can’t be that bad.”

 

So alone, I felt so alone.

 

When I ventured out to meet with friends,
I often felt jealous
as I watched other
new mommies snuggle
with perfect babbling bundles of joy.
I felt true regret
that my baby
could not be so lovely
and then felt like
the most awful mommy
for such treacherous thoughts.
I was her only ally,
and even I wanted to give her up.

 

I wanted a new baby.
Fuck you, Reflux.

 

Fuck you, Reflux,
for trying to steal my year,
my baby’s infancy, my marriage,
my family, my world.

 

Fuck you for thinking
my family was so weak.
You underestimated us.
You thought you had us beat.
Today is the start of a new year with new promise.
We are on the precipice of a life without you. 
The end is in sight.

 

Your scars run deep.
The third baby
I had always dreamed
of will never be.
My husband and I
can’t even bear the thought
of another year with you
hanging around our neck.
That yoke is too heavy,
so that third life
will remain unknown to us.

 

But that is okay.
My family is beautiful just the way it is.

 

My little girl,
my screaming, wretched baby
is beginning to bloom.

 

She is so lovely,
so undeniably beautiful,
happy, and healthy.
She melts my heart,
and her strength is something
I hope she carries with her
through this life like a shield.

 

Fuck you, Reflux,
for trying to break my little girl.

 

Fuck you for trying to break me.

 

You didn’t break me.
You made me stronger.
I had to learn to fight.
I had to fight through worry,
exhaustion, and sorrow.

 

You forced me to learn
what it means to advocate for my daughter.
“No” was no longer an acceptable answer.


From one doctor to the next we trawled,
until I found the answers
we needed to hear.
I read, I researched,
I studied, I armed myself.
This was a battle I could not lose,
the stakes were too high.

 

When I thought
I could not march one more step,
I marched a hundred more.

 

When I thought
I would go insane
to listen to my baby cry
one more minute,
I clutched her tighter
and prayed for the strength
to journey on.
I found that strength.

 

With time, help, and more time
we are beginning to thrive.

 

Now, I hear more laughter than screams.
We have begun weaning off medication.
We have slept through the night a handful of times.
We have met milestones that at one time
seemed like they were a lifetime away.

 

We have survived.

 

While I still start at every cry,
still feel my anxiety rise
when she gets a bout of hiccups,
Still wear vomit more days than not,
I know we are looking toward the future now.

 

So from the very bottom of my heart:

Fuck you, Reflux.

 

 

Jessica runs BornandFed.com and you can also find her on Facebook.

 

Again, Jessica, I cannot thank you enough for letting me share your beautiful words again.  They are powerful, and I know I can recognise my baby in there too.

 

Aine x

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