Today is a bitter-sweet day, my baby boy turns 3. Part of me is super excited for the next chapter from toddler to preschooler and watching him continue to learn and grow, but there is a huge part of me that feels robbed of the last 3 years. It’s been a long stressful road full of fear, doubt, grief, self blame and stress and for a large portion felt like I was just living in survival mode.
I still have days like this but thankfully not very often now that Lachlan is well on his way on his gut healing journey, but the whole process of dealing with a child with special needs is both mentally and physically draining regardless of their medical condition. It places strains on your marriage, relationships with other children and the way you conduct your day to day life to accommodate that child’s extra needs.
I've had people say “be thankful he is healthy” and “this is all you have to deal with” which to me personally is a kick in the guts. Yes my son isn't dealing with cancer or a heart condition requiring surgery but his condition is still life threatening (anaphylactic allergies) and if his eczema was to ever become so infected it could land him in hospital with a severe infection as so many children who suffer eczema do. And this is without even touching on the challenges faced with every day outings and social gatherings for an anaphylactic person, I could be here for hours.
The sleep deprivation for both (mother and child) from a constantly uncomfortable child is torture. You expect to lose sleep with a baby/toddler but with eczema it’s a vicious cycle, an overtired baby/toddler means more and more scratching which leads to broken and inflamed skin which if not properly cared for equals infections and more scratching equals no sleep for Mum or bub.
Then there is the constant daily cleaning and washing, vacuuming and dusting to keep the house free from all the dry dead skin that severe eczema suffers shed, and my goodness shed they do! Add the stress of constantly monitoring every morsel that goes into your child's body (and that every single thing he eats is made by yourself as you cannot risk cross contamination nor does anything pre prepared meet his dietary requirements) , keeping food diaries and tracking flare ups and never once forgetting the digestive enzymes and supplements he needs to support his gut healing process. This in itself feels like a full time job and can be very overwhelming.
When I was compiling the pictures to do this blog post it bought back so many memories. To be totally honest with you all I haven’t been able to look his baby pictures from the really bad times till now... they have always reduced me to tears.
But through the many ups and downs this little man although tired, cranky, itchy and sometimes in pain has shown that he is one tough little cookie and that he isn't going to let eczema beat him.
So I owe it to him to remain positive and strong and look back at all the happy and positive times we have had over the 3 years. To look at him now you would never have known this is the journey he has been on.
(Left - Lachlan now, taken 2 weeks ago just before his 3rd birthday,
Top Left - Lachlan prior to any signs of eczema and then the remaining 3 photos showing to some extend how infected he became (and this was following a GP's and dermatologists instructions & medications before I knew better!)
With all this I can happily and proudly say that after years of trials, errors, diets, eliminations, blood tests & pouring every spare moment I have had into researching and reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, both holistic and traditional, what we are doing now is working and the above left hand picture is proof of this.
Not only is he a happier child, my stress levels are down, our house is a less stressful place to be in, my workload in skin care and upkeep of our home environment is no longer as demanding and all because he is healing from the inside - something traditional avenues such as Dermatologists and allergists do not address in their practises. Steroids, antibiotics and lotions and potions are just band aid solutions, we need to be looking at the root of the problem and the root of the problem lies with gut health.
I am pleased to say Lachlan is almost nearly eczema free (we are working on the habitual scratching now which is a hard habit to break) but he is a thriving, happy, healthy and a very active little boy with the most beautiful placid nature that makes your heart melt.
I could be having the worst day and he will come up to me and give me a cuddle and say "I love you Mummy" and all is good in the world. A mother/child bond is always strong but when you have gone through something like Lachlan and I have you are so much closer.
I'm excited for today as it is a day of letting go of the harder chapters we have lived and starting the next happier and healthier chapters together.
So, Happy 3rd Birthday Lachlan, we love you more than you will ever know and from here the sky is the limit as we have already conquered so much.
Mummy, Daddy & Riley x