I might be a pediatric nurse but when it comes to my own kids, every bit of my nursing knowledge flies out the window. My mom is constantly on speed dial so I can ask her every random question I can or to just get confirmation I’m doing a good job. I’ve always been the type of nurse that tries to empower my parents to be advocates for their child. One day, I had to listen to my own advice and become a confident advocate for my own children.
1. Find a pediatrician you trust.
Educate yourself on the hospitals in your area. In the Tampa Bay Area, we are fortunate to have many hospitals who specialize in the care of children. Unfortunately you’ll never know if your child will need to go to the ER or see a specialist so it’s vital to know who is in your area. Children are not tiny adults. They need doctors who are trained to recognize problems and treat them accordingly. Never in a million years did I think my son would have seizures or my daughter would have an immunodeficiency but they do and I’m so thankful for all of their specialists who have done everything in their power to provide the best care to my children (and to my husband and I).
2. Trust your gut.
You are a Mother. You know your child. You recognize when something is wrong before anything happens. I truly believe it’s our best superpower. They call it “Mother’s Instinct” for a reason. If you feel like something is wrong with your child, there probably is. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. For years I knew something was wrong with my daughter. She would get sick every 3 weeks like clockwork. One minute she was fine, the next minute she had fevers, rashes and mouth sores. My original pediatrician kept blowing me off but our new one sent us to an Immunologist after our first visit. Just that action made me realize that I know my child better than anyone and I had been right all along.
No one hands you a How-To book when you give birth to your child. We all hope for the best but there comes a time when you’ll need to advocate for your child. Be educated and prepared. But more importantly, be confident and do what you do best…know your child better than anyone else.