This will be an emotional story, as it is an emotional journey.
The one that nearly broke me is getting better. I’m not being light-hearted or joking when I say nearly broke me. I am a relatively strong person. I moved to Australia with my husband and our 6 month old, leaving my family and friends behind. I travelled half way across the world with 3 small children by myself. These aren’t hardships but are tasks that many people wouldn’t take on by choice.
For a year and a half though I struggled with my daughter. That is hard to say as you do anything and everything for your children. I firmly believe the only reason we are where we are now is because of that reason – you do anything and everything for your children, to help them and because you love them.
I had times when I broke down, I didn’t want to be with her as I couldn’t cope. Was I depressed? I’m not sure if I was that far but I wasn’t coping, at all. I regularly cried, shouted and screamed in frustration. My beautiful, loving, previously laid-back 3-year-old was getting further and further away from us, we couldn’t figure out why and we couldn’t help her.
Little S is one of the sweetest little girls I know, she is so loving and cuddly, quite smart and has a warm soul. At times though none of that is visible. Her whole body is taken over by anxiety and sensory overload and her mind is clouded with obsession, anger and frustration. She couldn’t physically help how she was feeling and couldn’t verbally communicate what was happening. This led me initially to believe she was being difficult, being the middle child and looking for attention.
Life continued and life for Little S got harder and harder. After a year and a half and a lot of research we decided to change her diet (after many other interventions).
After testing, diet changes, investigation and research we decided to embark on the GAPS intro diet.
So what is GAPS? GAPS, Gut and Psychology Syndrome is explained as a condition, which establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system, the brain and the immune system. Effectively a leaky gut has a detrimental effect on the brain and the immune system. Little S has a leaky gut.
We are a family of 5 with 3 little kids so the GAPS intro was not an easy task. We soon found out just how hard it would be. At the beginning of February we all began the intro diet. Here’s a link to what the intro entails. We did not embark on this journey by ourselves. We have a fantastic GAPS practitioner that was guiding us along the way. Renay at K.I.S.S. Nutrition had reviewed all of Little S’s test results and is aware of our whole family and what each of us requires.
The intro is not easy and each person experienced detox symptoms. Within a few days though these symptoms cleared and the girls stopped constantly asking for fruit and started enjoying vegetables. Little S was not enjoying every vegetable but certainly increased the amount she would try and eat. Little F now literally eats everything and anything.
How do you get small kids to drink meat stock and fermented vegetable juice you might ask? It’s hard, I’ll admit that but with the goal of healing in the forefront of our minds we pushed on through. Two weeks later the girls were drinking 2 full cups of stock a day, along with fermented vegetable juice and some fermented vegetables.
Now at the end of March we are on the Full GAPS diet. Initially we saw regression from Little S, her eczema broke out again as her body detoxed. Over the last month we have seen Little S’s behaviour improve, she has become so much more articulate with conversation flowing from her at an unbelievable rate. She is on the whole happier, she laughs continuously, sometimes in hysterics – which is such a beautiful sound to our ears. She still has some melt-downs but as the days pass they are not as severe and she is in more control of herself and her reactions. She is much more cuddly giving kisses and hugs, smiles and waves at every opportunity. She is finally coming back to that sweet, beautiful little girl that we knew was still in there.
We are not sure for how long Little S will remain on this diet or when we can try introducing the food she is intolerant of but we will do whatever it takes for our little sweet girl.
We know she has a healing road ahead of her. Her gut is not healed, she can’t eat dairy or many starchy foods without reaction but in time we hope to reintroduce dairy, when her gut is healed enough. Our hope is that as the days, weeks and months pass she will continue to benefit from the GAPS diet and we will continue to see improvements.
For now though we have hope that we are helping her heal and be the best little superstar that she can be. And the benefit from all of this – happiness. We are all a lot happier 🙂