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When IBS and Parenting Causes a Sticky Situation

by | March 22, 2019

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a dicky tummy. I was that kid who would be sick as soon as I’d eat ice cream, cheese or spicy foods, even soda affected me. I remember one time being in a mall with my mom who brought me for delicious Mexican food, only to have to cut our visit short because I had an awful case of diarrhea and didn’t make it to the bathroom on time.

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When IBS and Parenting Causes a Sticky Situation

In fact, there’s not a time in my life that I can think of where I didn’t have anxiety about my tummy issues. I’d eat food that wouldn’t upset my tummy before going anywhere. It was awful as a teen and young adult. My belly would bloat so badly that I’d look pregnant, and there’s the awkwardness of having diarrhea at someone’s house. Have you ever seen the bathroom scene in Dumb and Dumber? That’s how I lived, still, live sometimes. Eventually, as a young adult, I’d had enough of never knowing when my tummy issues would hit, so I went to a doctor who ran a bunch of tests, and I was subsequently diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

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I never really thought about how having IBS would cause problems when I became a parent. I was used to dining and dashing. As a single person, I could just up and run whenever I needed to, not so much when I had a baby and a toddler. I’ll never forget, as long as I live the time my two-year-old wouldn’t get off the slide at the playground. You know how toddlers are, they don’t understand that mommy needs to go potty, they just want to keep playing. My tummy started rumbling and bloating not long after I’d unloaded the kids. Sometimes it passes without event, so I figured I’d wait for a few and see if it calmed down. Big mistake, huge! By the time I wrangled my tantruming two-year-old to the car it was too late. I’ll spare you the yucky details, but it involved a plastic bag and my favorite pink scarf.

That was almost twelve years ago, and although I manage my IBS through diet, I still have flareups. At least now the kids are old enough to entertain themselves when I have to spend what feels like a whole day in the bathroom.


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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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