i’m not strong enough

oh God…i can’t do this. i’m not strong enough. i can’t watch my 2.5 year old son starve himself. i can’t keep trying things that don’t work. i can’t get my hopes up, only to have them dashed so soon after.

i’m not strong enough for this. why is this happening? i don’t understand.

we went to the parents’ group at the Children’s Hospital. we talked to other parents whose children had similar eating issues/disorders. we talked to a myriad of specialists. we thought we had to tools and information to attack this problem.

none of it helped.

we had a one-on-one session with the OT and Psychologist from the group, and we thought we heard what we needed to hear…what would help us.

we were wrong.

we now go for twice-monthly visits with his Psychologist. each time, we leave there with a new plan of attack…a new method to try….a new way of doing things. we leave with a spring in our step, and some optimism that we’ve finally found something that will work.

it never does.

i don’t know how much more of this i can take. i’ve never felt so helpless in my life. my child not only doesn’t want to eat…doesn’t like to eat. he is almost petrified of eating. he screams to get away from the table. and it’s getting worse.

he used to eat pizza like it was going out of style. now he will take his few bites, and then ask to leave the table with this fright in his voice…he needs to get away from this eating scene. the few things that he used to like to eat, he doesn’t want to eat anymore. i don’t get it.

tonight we put cut-up bits of chicken fingers, corn and cauliflower on his plate. he had a sip of his water, took one look at his plate and scream “done!”. we begged and pleaded, as we always do. but he was done. not one bite, and as far as he was concerned his dinner was over. we did manage to get two teeny tiny bites of chicken into him, but we had to bribe him…he could get down from the table if he had two pieces of chicken. and we had to pretend they were Percy and Skarloey, two of his favourite engines from Thomas. even then, he was thisclose to spitting them out…we had to convince him it was okay to chew and swallow them. it was as if he thought the food was going to hurt him. a look of fear mixed with disgust was painted on his face as he painfully chewed and swallowed these minuscule bits of chicken.

after he had eaten the chicken, we let him down as promised. he ran around playing with his train and track while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. we invited Zander back to the table for dessert. yogurt…his favourite. but no, he did not want to come back to that damn table. i believe his exact words were “no way!”.

beaten down and needing our little boy to go to bed with more than 1/20th of a chicken finger (especially since he had refused his after-nap snack, meaning he hadn’t had anything to eat since lunch), we agreed to feed him yogurt on the couch while he watched TV. and when i say we agreed to feed him, i mean we spoon fed him. that’s right…we had to spoon feed yogurt to our 2.5 year old son. ’cause that’s the only way he would have anything to do with it.

with the terror of the dining table behind him and Thomas the Train suitably entertaining him, we snuck another yogurt and some puréed strawberry-banana into him. far from what a toddler should be having for dinner since most toddlers don’t eat mainly purées, but it’s better than nothing.

tonight’s dinner took almost an hour and a half, start to finish. now i could handle that if it happened every once in a while. but it doesn’t. it happens everyday. everyday. sometimes every meal.

i watch this smart, funny, beautiful, amazing little boy of ours….he’s barely eating, he won’t try to eat new things, he’s growing slowly, he’s been bouncing between 22 and 26 pounds for over a year, but never gains anymore weight….and i don’t know how to help him. and it’s killing me.

i don’t know how much longer i can do this. i want to stop trying to be strong. i want to just let myself crumble. i want to curl up into a ball and let the tears flow for however many hours or days they keep coming. i want to wallow in my feelings of uselessness and failure, my ppd and self-pity.

but i can’t. i have to be there for Zander and help him through this. i have another son who has issues of his own. and i have a husband that is going through all of this too, and who needs me there with him.

i just don’t know if i’m strong enough to do this.

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20 Responses to i’m not strong enough

  1. VDog says:

    Oh my gosh, sweetie, I am SO sorry you are going through this. I can only imagine how horrible this must be for you.
    I can only say that each day you get through this, you ARE strong enough.

    And it’s okay to cry! It doesn’t mean you aren’t strong. It means you need to honor your feelings, NOT hold them in, and THAT is truly what being strong is about.

    I would think that EVENTUALLY he’ll want to eat solid foods, and personally I don’t see a problem with making him high-protein, healthful smoothies for his meals. Sounds like it could make things easier for everyone.

    My heart is with you right now.

  2. AndreAnna says:

    This sounds totally terrible. One of the worst feelings in life is feeling like we are helpless to help our children.

    But you are a good mother and you are doing more than enough to try to help your son.

    I truly hope that there is a turn around the corner and a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Hang in there.

  3. janet says:

    oh cate, i’m sooo sorry. there are no words that can comfort you as you watch your child self-destruct (i know. i’ve been there, but he was older).

    just know that we are all here for you. when you don’t feel strong enough, lean on us, your internet friends.

    i’m sending many many many hugs.

  4. wineymomma says:

    my heart goes out to you girl. I know how much pressure we put on new mothers to breast feed. I breast fed o for a while but never had enough milk to feed her well so I stopped and then beat myself up about it for a long time. She hovered around that 22 to 25 pound mark for a long time too. when she started preschool at 3 she wieghed in at a whopping 27 pounds! She is still very small for her age but catching up. Not a picky eater but never eats alot and won’t eat at all if she feels like she is being watched.

    I truly believe that what I was feeling for a while after my son was born was ppd. Never diagnosed. Now I am in a full on depression and still trying to get the dosage of my meds to the right level. I feel alot better but I truly wish that everyone was as strong as you are to talk about this so that the stigma is taken away. I try to share about depression and my meds as openly as possible too.

    I can understand the guilt you are feeling. I want you to know that I believe you to be an incredible, strong person and a wonderful mom! The fact that your boys are loving, sweet, funny kids is a testament to that.

    Do something for yourself even if it is only to sit still for a couple extra minutes today!


  5. Mommy Daisy says:

    We all have moments when we feel like we can’t take it any more. But you CAN, you ARE, and you WILL. You are doing great with what you can. I admire your perserverance. Keep at it. You will get through this eventually. Someday you will look back at this and be very proud of yourself.

  6. Kimberly says:

    I’m crying. I don’t know what to say. I don’t think anyone can understand this unless the exact same thing has happened to them.

  7. ~JJ! says:

    Oh Cate!
    I don’t know this whole story and I am far from the expert so I can’t comment or offer you any advice. I have none. I am sorry.

    What I can tell you is: I still “spoon feed” my almost 4yo daughter once in a while when I feel that she NEEDS to eat…She is a very picky eater and would rather not eat real food. She loves snacks. (I fear that’s my fault)…

    So once in a while I do feed her myself.

    I wish I had some words of wisdom for you because I can only understand how you FEEL not what you can do about it.

    I send you my love.

  8. andi says:

    I may be duplicating a comment, something weird happened…

    Anyway, before my comment disappeared, it said this:

    I’m so sorry, Cate. You are in my thoughts. And you know what? I believe you really are that strong.

  9. Heidi Hyde says:


    oh my. I don’t know what to say, except it’s ok to cry. It doesn’t mean you’re not strong. It doesn’t mean you aren’t fighting.
    Love to you


  10. Heather says:

    I”m sorry you’re going thru this cate. I have no wise words…just thoughts for you.

  11. Bec says:

    Oh Cate I’m so sorry you’re in such a horrible situation :(

    At the risk of sounding like one of those “Have you tried-ers”, has anyone suggested a gastro tube? I know it’s a horrible thing to need but at least he’d get enough calories and you wouldn’t need to feel so much stress that he’s not eating.

  12. My heart aches for you, mama. I have no advice or suggestions, just know that I’m thinking of you.

  13. Pamala says:

    It’s hard especially when you feel no one cares as much as you do about your child. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to not get the help you need in regards to your child’s problem. It’s like no one listens, or they think you are over-reacting about it. But you know your child, and you just want some help. I don’t understand it, I don’t know why they can’t help us! It is very frustrating and sometimes you just want to give up, but I think we’ll get through it and we’ll be okay, because no matter how tired we are, and how tough it is, we’re mom’s and our job to take care of our children.

  14. Jennifer says:

    Cate, you can do this. I’m so sorry it has to be so hard. I wish I had some miracle answer.

  15. You are SO strong Cate. And you’re a wonderful mother to those boys.
    Thinking of you.

  16. Avery says:

    Oh, Cate! I’m sorry! That’s got to be incredibly frustrating and defeating, especially when there’s no end in sight. But I know you are strong enough, even if you have to breakdown every single night, because you love him, and will do anything for him. That’s our curse as moms! Otherwise, the entire human race would have died out long ago.

    But I hope it gets better soon!

  17. jackie says:

    So sorry you have to go through something like this. It’s OK to be frustrated and upset and scared. You CAN do this. Hang in there. (((hugs)))

  18. Lora says:

    Hi Cate,

    Trying feeding him away from the table ! Ie: On the couch , sound like he HATES or is scared of the Kitchen Table !

    And even if you can get a spoonfuls of something into him your doing great !! :)

    Have the support group offered you any help or great ideas??

    Hang in there Your doing a great JOB:)

  19. Pingback: feelin’ the love « monkeys and marbles

  20. Nap Warden says:

    You know what, I got nothin’…I am just so sorry that your family is going through this. All I can do is send you good thoughts…