Advocating for Our Children
By Briana D’Andrea
Our tiny humans are small. They are vulnerable. They simply don’t know any better. So it is up to us as parents, to always go with our gut and advocate for our children and the safety of their lives. I remember it like it was yesterday. Our family had recently moved to Orlando, because of a job opportunity presented to my husband. At the time, I remember how difficult it was to leave our family and friends behind for sure, but it was almost the most difficult to say goodbye to our pediatric doctor. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had interviewed him while pregnant with our first born, completely elated that we had found “the one.” It was almost as if he were a trusted member of our family, someone that would give us advice in good times and bad, when it came to the well-being of our little babies. When Reagan was first born, Dr. R (That’s what we will call him) saw us for his very first well-check, when he was running a high-fever, he was our trusted source, when it was time for vaccines, we drove a half an hour just to see our beloved doctor, because we didn’t think it would be possible to find anyone else who understood us…and then we moved.
I knew NOBODY. I couldn’t phone a girlfriend who had a baby, because well I had no friends. My bigger boy hadn’t started school yet, so it wasn’t like I could ask the others moms where they went and when he finally did start school, every doctor was more than 45 minutes away from where we lived and that was a no go with a 3 month baby in tow, who HATED the car and was already subjected to an hour and half commute daily. I remember scouring the mommy sites, local Facebook pages, doing research on every doctor in the area, when finally after countless reviews and numerous phone calls, we had decided on a practice. Upon arrival, I wanted to just curl up in a ball and cry. For whatever reason, it had this gloomy disposition in the waiting room…no one was friendly. Perhaps you could say it was the post pregnancy hormones that were kicking in, that contributed to my disappoint, but so be it. I know it didn’t do me any good to compare, but I just couldn’t help it. After going into what seemed like a weigh-in station at a vet clinic, we finally met with the doctor I had done countless amounts of research on. I wanted to like him. I really did. I try incredibly hard not to judge a book by its cover, but I just had this weird gut feeling about being there. My daughter at the time suffered from a severe case of eczema on her face. I was nursing at the time and remember trying everything I could think of. Eliminating dairy, more water in my diet, lotions, body washes, keeping it dry, you name it, I did it! Dr. Y (we will call him) immediately saw little miss and said, “Oh, it’s just a simple case of baby eczema. Go to Target, get yourself some “xyz” cream and rub it on the area twice a day and it should go away (Not interested in degrading the company). I left that day sobbing in my car and oddly enough received a phone call from our previous doctor asking me how things were going and if we had managed to find a doctor. I remember in that moment wanting to head straight down I-95 and not look back, but that clearly wasn’t an option.
Our family is incredibly passionate about healthier alternatives. I wouldn’t call myself a crunchy mama, but if there is a healthier option for a lotion or a protein bar, you bet your bottom dollar I’m paying the extra 50 cents. I liken it to preventative medicine in an effort to not have to medicate an existing condition. I caved and bought the cream, because in all honesty I was DESPERATE! However, deep down in my heart, I knew that this lotion in particular was full of ingredients that I not only couldn’t read, but were potentially harmful to my little growing baby. I went home opened the bottle, put the cream on and by the next morning the situation had not gotten better, it got worse! Now while it could have been a number of contributing factors, in that moment I was mad at myself. Mad that I hadn’t said to that doctor that what he was “prescribing” was in fact no good and it didn’t take years of medical practice to recognize that, mad that I even gave it the slightest chance to help my poor daughter who was suffering from cracked, red skin on her precious milky face. I marched right back to the store, returned it and vowed that from that day forward, I would always be an advocate for my children. That mother’s know best. That I would be darned if some old school doctor who probably got his graduate degree long before studies were released about the harmful effects of products and foods currently on the market were no longer acceptable would tell me what my daughter needed most. That I would have a voice and the courage to say, “No Sir!” A month later, that said doctor wanted to prescribe yet another magic cream, that he thought would help my daughter with another skin issue she had. That my friends was the last time I went to his practice. I vowed to find another doctor that held on to the same values that my husband and I practiced. As luck would have it, we were able to move back home to our original doctor 7 months later. Now while maybe not everyone is so lucky, my advice is this. Don’t EVER let someone tell you their opinion doctor or otherwise and allow it be the end all be all. YOU have a voice, USE it! Whether that means getting a second opinion, changing doctors or just standing up for what’s right in the world. Our little ones rely on us to be their advocates in this life and that my friends, is something I will always do for my babies, no matter the circumstance.