Faculty Wife | Part 9
Summer 1970. Two challenges won’t be put off.
The first is in my face every day and night: our hungry Daughter. It takes only a few minutes to exhaust the milk my body is able to produce.
I keep powdered baby formula in the house. We used to give our Son one bottle a day, late in the afternoon. If an emergency came up, we wanted to know he would take a bottle. Hence the baby bottle routine when he was younger.
D still has the honor of preparing and giving that afternoon bottle, and for changing diapers before or after as needed. He loves it (well, most of it), and so do I.
But this is different. I can’t seem to get it right when it comes to Daughter. In fact, the only feeding that satisfies her is her afternoon bottle from D.
I fear, rightly or wrongly, that not nursing her will put her at a serious disadvantage. I don’t need any research to guilt trip me. My own thoughts keep accusing me.
Nonetheless, I begin offering her a bottle at every feeding. Though I grieved and felt shame about my so-called failure, she took to the bottle immediately. Ironically, I also began sleeping better because Daughter began sleeping better and thriving.
The second challenge is my health. My hair is falling out in gobs. Nothing I do seems to heal the sores in my mouth.
One day a young mother from down the street comes to see how I’m getting on. Her husband also works at the Bible College, in the maintenance department. They have 4 stair-step children, and she’s just found out she’s pregnant again. Her eyes tear up.
We commiserate, and she tells me how difficult it is for them financially with so many children. She and her husband are on the faculty/staff allowance system we’re on. The only way to be sure of getting a raise is to have another baby.
Even so, she’s able to feed them well, and they enjoy good health. Somewhere in that conversation she asks about my health. I tell her about the mouth sores. She asks whether I’m taking vitamins. No, I’m not. Not since the end of May when Daughter was born.
She goes back to her house and brings me a small bottle of vitamins. It turns out she sells them on the side to make a little money, and to get a discount on purchases for her family. She asks me to try taking them for a week. This might help my mouth and, perhaps over time, my hair.
Within less than a week the mouth sores are closing up. I’m stunned. My new friend recommends a doctor. I hadn’t yet found a doctor for myself. We couldn’t ‘afford it.’
But she prevailed. The doctor looked me over, tested my blood, and informed me I was anemic. As awful as it was to hear this, I was relieved. I could do something about it.
Next, my friend asks what kind of food we’re eating regularly.
- White rice, mashed potatoes, French fries and potato chips.
- Fat-laden hamburgers in white buns and fatty hot dogs in white rolls.
- Frosted breakfast cereals, biscuits and jam, sweet rolls.
- TV dinners at least once a week. So easy, and always on sale.
My neighbor loans me a book by Adelle Davis and suggests I look it over and think about making a few simple changes. No, this won’t cost a ton of money. Just a bit of time, energy and planning ahead.
I begin making different food choices.
- brown rice, baked potatoes, home-made yogurt, home-made soup
- coffee cake, waffles, pancakes and biscuits all made with Adelle’s nutritious quick-bread mix
- whole-wheat rolls and hot-dog buns for leaner beef burgers and turkey dogs
- more vegetables, salads and fresh fruit
Thankfully, everyone is happy with most of my experiments. My energy level improves and my hair begins growing again. Not quite as thick and wavy as before, but good enough.
To be continued. . . .
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 August 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, December 1970, Savannah