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Parenting Perspective: Think Outside the Hospital Lights (advocating for your child)

When our daughter was born, she had jaundice and had to stay overnight in the hospital under lights. I had a bed, but she was in a crib, naked and blindfolded. I was allowed to hold her for 10 minutes every hour. The separation was torture. I laid in bed and cried. The nurse shrugged. That's just how it was done.


Then, my husband's aunt came to visit us. The head L&D nurse at that hospital, she'd just stopped in to see her great-niece. She assessed the situation, then asked if I minded being under the lights, too. Did I mind being warm so I could hold my baby??? NOPE.


She gently handed my baby to me, then moved the light over my bed. We could be together! My daughter and I slept side-by-side with nurses hovering throughout the night. I wish we'd thought to get a picture of that night 11 years ago!


When something feels wrong in parenting and everyone around shrugs and acts like it has to be that way, remember this story. Advocating for your child can feel scary, but who is going to do it if you don't? This is your job. Either find the person who thinks outside the box and can fix it -or- BE the person who thinks outside the box and fixes it.


I didn't need anyone to hand me my baby and move the light, but I didn't realize how much power I had. I thought "they" were in charge, but as the mother, I was actually the one in charge. I just needed to find my voice. If that happened to me today, I'd move the light myself and inform the nurses I'd made a change. (Better yet, I'd call local medical supply centers, rent some lights for a few days, then inform the hospital we'd be under lights at home.)


When it comes to your child, YOU are in charge. Everyone who works with you to care for your child is under your authority. If you don't like what's happening, it's up to you to change it. Or leave.


Don't be afraid to speak up and ask questions. I didn't know how to advocate for my child as a brand new mom. All I knew to do was cry. I had to learn from hard experiences and other mothers who showed me how to have courage. I want to empower YOU not to lay around and cry, but to think outside the box and boldly press for a solution.



The following are six examples of things you can say when you find yourself in that kind of situation:


1. "As the parent, I'm ultimately responsible for my child's well-being, and I expect my decisions to be respected and supported."


2. "I appreciate your expertise, but I'm the one who knows my child best. Let's work together to find a solution that aligns with our family's values and needs."


3. "I understand your protocol, but I believe there might be alternative approaches we can explore that better suit our situation. Can we discuss them further?"


4. "I value your input, but ultimately, I'm the one who will make the final decisions regarding my child's care. Let's collaborate to ensure the best outcome for them."


5. "I'm open to suggestions, but I need to feel confident in the decisions made for my child. Let's find a solution together that honors both your expertise and my parental authority."


6. "I don't know what the solution is, but THIS is unacceptable. Let's talk to someone with the authority to help us figure this out."


Have you ever needed to advocate for your child and been like me, crying and helpless? What did you learn through the situation. I love to hear from you. Let's discuss it in the comments.


Love,

Kimberly



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