Calling it a “crap situation” would be an understatement.
Seriously, all the puns and metaphors have been used as a way of coping with the infuriating human issue of pooing – or not pooing in our case. If you didn’t know before now, all living things have to poo. And when you are not able to poo, the results are pretty uncomfortable and impact your overall wellbeing and energy levels.
We can all understand that. But when my daughter began soiling and having serious constipation issues from before the age of two, the situation actually felt shameful. I recall having to hold the legs of my little girl as a baby and push her knees into her tummy to assist her to pass a poo – something we mostly take for granted.
The numerous doctor’s visits, the ridiculous amounts of lactulose expected to get my daughter to happily ingest and the subtle, insulting questioning regarding the adequacy of her diet and water intake made me want to have a tantrum.
Watch the trailer for our two podcasts, This Glorious Mess Big Kids and Little Kids, for humans that have babies and have questions. Post continues below.
While my daughter was in nappies, we worked hard to allow her the time and the relaxed message of ‘pooing is a good thing’, in the hope that it would resolve. She broke her leg at two, which didn’t help toilet training, but it didn’t cause the constipation either.
On advice and numerous doctor’s visits, we tried the prune juice, the kiwi-crush (turns out she is allergic to kiwifruit), the unrealistic quantities of powder sachets that were “hospital strength” for bowel prep surgery, the gluten-free diet, the blood tests for celiac disease, the cognitive behavioural ‘sneaky-poo programme’, endless suggestions from friends, “tough-love” suggestions from well-meaning loved ones, reward charts, watching a tablet and playing games on the toilet, sugar-free sweets (too many make you poop apparently) and psychotherapy on a weekly (costly) basis.
This tireless list of strategies to trial occurred over a period of years, We were constantly, condescendingly told that this is “very common” and that “most families” encounter this problem with their children. Who are they, I asked?! Where are these families?! I wanted to talk to someone that was going through what we were going through.
As our daughter got older and her issues remained, I was told that the rejected referral letter to the hospital had recommended I attend a ‘parenting course’ – to help with my daughter’s “problem behaviour”. It was so dismissive and so disdainful I thought I was going to implode. I felt so angry!
Starting school, I felt like such a failure as our daughter continued to soil and need changes of clothes during the day. I can still remember being called to come into the school to change her one day as she had soiled and the school policy was that they weren’t allowed to touch her.