The Quiet

Featured Blogger Kaylee Page shares her perspective on life with FPIES in an ongoing series.

I had BIG plans for my maternity leave. I was going to work out, get that pre-pregnancy body back! Cuddle and coo over my little bundle of joy. And I was going to have people over for tea and crumpets to meet the baby!

Instead… I sat in the same hot pink sweatpants for eight weeks, day in and day out. I ordered Jimmy John’s and Jet’s Pizza because they deliver.

I cried a lot. And *hand to heaven* — I gained weight. Then I headed back to work, exhausted and depleted.

As the fussy, sleepless nights and puke-filled days continued, I found myself lost. Deep in the middle of a fog, entrenched in a dark rut, our year progressed and FPIES became our reality. I didn’t feel good at anything. I felt like a failure as a wife, a colleague, an employee, and most of all I felt like an utter failure as a mom.

So little sleep, so much to worry about. I just couldn’t stop crying. I grieved every noticeable difference of what I had expected motherhood to be.

Most of all, I couldn’t wake up out of the fog.

Now, as I sit on the other side of FPIES, I wish so deeply that I had been okay with taking care of myself too. I was taking care of Bella first and foremost, running around to doctor appointments and putting in endless mental and physical effort to keep her fed. I took care of my husband and our home. I thrived in my job. But I was gone. I’d hustle throughout my day, checking all my boxes, counting the hours until I could collapse on the couch with the latest reality show.

I don’t hate myself for the reality shows. I was so absolutely worn out that I had nothing left in me to do a craft, read a book or work out. I’ve accepted my mind-numbing TV watching as part of the FPIES season. TV is good and fine but it’s just as noisy as the life happening around us. And instead of making intentional time to take care of myself, I lost a bit of who I was. As a result, everyone around me didn’t get the best version of me; they got the foggy me.

If I could do it again, I’d do this one thing: I would have taken care of myself by getting into the silence.

Five minutes. Ten minutes. On a miraculous day, maybe even 30 minutes. And I would have sat. With myself. With my thoughts. To know how I was thinking and feeling – about anything and everything.

What might this have looked like?
Listening to calm music.
Taking a bath.
Going for a walk.
…Or sitting in complete, utter silence.

In this space maybe I could have heard that I wasn’t failing anyone. That I was strong. That I cared deeply about all the pieces I was keeping together and doing my best at all of them. I was navigating the hard and foggy of FPIES.

And you? You too! You, FPIES Warriors, are strong and doing amazing parenting in unchartered waters.

I applaud you so loudly, so profoundly. You are doing it. You are living, fighting and thriving in the midst of the foggy, exhausting and hard.

Today, may you take the time to be still and quiet… Give yourself permission to find yourself there.

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