The Weight of Responsibility


I have three children. And all of them are poorly this week. We’ve had three days of it so far.

My daughter, who is two, kicked it off on Tuesday afternoon when she was just a bit off colour. In the early hours of Wednesday she was sick all over her bed. Twice. She went on to develop a high temperature and has been fragile ever since, although hasn’t been sick since Wednesday lunchtime. My seven year old son woke up on Wednesday with a headache and was a bit fragile. A couple of hours later he had a high temperature, but it took to Thursday night before he started being sick. He too has kept up with the high temperature and is emotionally fragile.

vomitAnd the baby. He sailed through it all until one o’clock on Friday morning when he was sick. All over my bed. He soon settled though and drifted off to a happy sleep. He slept through his usual 6.30am feed and woke up at 9.30 for his next feed. So I fed him. And he threw up everywhere. I mopped and cleaned and changed him, put him in clean clothes, settled him. His sister came over to check he was OK. He vomited. All over her. You can only imagine how long the fall out from that continued.

He had a little sleep, woke up, had some milk, went back to sleep. All good. Woke up and wanted feeding in the late afternoon. All went well. He had a little rest, a little play. Then he started to whine, so I picked him up. He threw up about five gallons of milk, all over me. His Dad took him, cleaned him, got him into a new sleep suit, and he sat on his Daddy’s knee happily.

And I am exhausted. Physically and emotionally. Somewhere in this, we managed to eat a proper meal tonight. Well, I say proper, but it wasn’t the home cooked loveliness I like us to have. It was bacon and eggs, but it’s the first time in three days I’ve eaten something other than toast or cornflakes. There’s just been no chance to eat properly. And that’s where the weight of responsibility comes in.

With my older two, breastfeeding, once established, was easy. I didn’t give it a second thought. This time round we’ve had so many problems with Sid’s tongue ties, his massive weight loss, my health after his birth, my supply that I haven’t had the luxury of not giving it a second thought. Every feed comes with much observation to make sure the latch is good, he’s feeding properly. And every feed starts with a bottle supplement to make sure he is not so frantic that he won’t feed at all. And every week he is weighed to make sure he’s gained enough weight. And last week he lost weight, which sent us into a panic again.

So when I have a week like this, where I don’t get the chance to eat or drink properly I do feel the weight of responsibility because I can’t afford to do anything that will affect my milk supply, not if we want to eventually do without supplements. But it’s hard because that constant knowledge adds yet another layer of stress to an already stressful week.

I really hope that this sickness passes quickly, that Sid manages to keep his food down, that I can stop feeling guilty about it all. Blimey, it’s hard this parenting lark.

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