Firstly, thanks to everyone who has contributed to our discussion about miscarriage and infertility. (See below.) I just feel so full of admiration and respect for the generous and courageous women who have shared their stories.
When you’re a parent, you can’t help but feel be moved when you hear about other parents who lose their child or baby to a terrible tragedy. Just recently there’s been quite a bit in the news about the trial of Manju and Thomas Sam, whose baby died of severe eczema and malnutrition at nine months. The couple is on trial for manslaughter by gross negligence because they allegedly failed to seek appropriate medical attention for their baby. I can only imagine the agony those parents must be going through as they face the trial. The baby’s Dad was a homeopath and they had apparently treated the baby with homeopathic remedies, but they obviously weren’t working and the baby later died of infection.
They didn’t have any explanation for why they failed to seek help sooner, but the baby was obviously in severe pain. So you can only assume that the parents had some kind of ideological commitment to homeopathy, even though it clearly wasn’t working. And it reminded me of the recent case of the baby that died during a homebirth. The baby’s mother was vocal advocate of freebirthing, (which is giving birth at home without a qualified midwife) and when her labour went on for four days, the baby became distressed and died. Again, I feel for what that poor Mum must be going through. But this means there have been two prominent tragedies recently where the baby’s death may have been prevented if the parents had sought timely medical help. Of course, it may not be so black and white, but it appears as though in both cases, the ideology of the parents interfered with their ability to do the best for their child.
As parents we have to be prepared to reassess when the approach we’re using isn’t working, whether it’s in relation to discipline, healthcare, childcare, giving birth, going back to work or whatever. Even though we all go into parenting with certain ideas about what we will and won’t do, the reality can be very different. I think that is particularly true with childbirth. Many women have very strong ideas about what kind of labor they want, but when they’re faced with the reality, it all goes out the window. And that just continues when you get the baby home. For example, I never would have thought that I would use painkillers (like Panadol, Nurofen) as much as I have. But the other day, when Birdy was teething, she was grumpy, she was in pain, she had a slight fever, she wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep and then I gave her a dose of medicine and suddenly life was bearable again. So I’ve had to change my attitude to fit in with the reality of my life. That’s a pretty trivial example, but the two cases of those babies who died is a good reminder that our decisions can have serious consequences.
Have you ever had to change your attitude when your approach to parenting hasn’t been working? What have you done differently to what you thought you would do before you had kids? (eg. bribery) Have you sometimes found that what works for one child doesn’t work for another?
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