By Tammie Allegro
Instantly, the thoughts in my head ran full speed ahead, full of accusations and blame. Did I drink too much soda while I was pregnant? Was I exposed to lead paint? I didn’t eat enough veggies. Maybe I just didn’t make her eat enough veggies. No, God must be mad at me for all those bratty things I’ve done in my life. There must be something that I did to cause this to happen to my little girl. As I continued to beat myself up, I also wondered, how did I miss this? There must have been signs I refused to see all along.
Why, as moms, do we instantly blame ourselves no matter what the issue is? Recently, my daughter was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition. Instead of being relieved that I had an answer about what was wrong with her, or getting angry at the world, I blamed myself. I felt this tremendous guilt for not doing enough to keep this from happening. I also felt guilty that it was happening to her and not to me.
Following the diagnosis, there were medical decisions that had to be made. My daughter has a condition that can be treated; medication is suggested, but not required. This, of course, brought up a whole new set of concerns and guilt. There are always potential side effects with medication. It is also possible the medicine will not fix her issue and could even harm her. There is no way for me to know what the future holds for my little girl. I have no way of knowing, without a doubt, what the right choice is for her. All I have are my instincts as a mother. Unfortunately, my instincts are telling me to scoop her up, run home and hide from the world. Not for a long time, just long enough to figure things out.
Then the other guilty thoughts came into play. What if I didn’t medicate her? I could be the one thing standing between my little girl and her “happily ever after.” My issues with medication might cause her to struggle for the rest of her life. As her mother, it is my job to protect her from everything — right?
I saw this post recently on our IG Living Facebook page: “Listen to your gut regarding your child’s health. Don’t be bullied by the doc. Keep a respectful tone, but remember it’s YOUR child.” That’s good advice I’ve taken to heart.
I finally realized I had to do what was right for her. I had to give her a chance and let her life be what it was intended to be, even if it required medical intervention. It is my job to protect her, but sometimes it is me she needs protecting from. My fears can sometimes cloud my judgment.
Of course, I had forgotten a major factor in all of this: I am a “we.” I have a spouse who also had to be a part of this decision. It wasn’t just about me. Together we chose to medicate her. We decided to be thankful every day for strides in medicine that provide this possible solution for my daughter. We are going to appreciate the knowledge that we are not alone. She is going to fight like she always has and we are going to fight with her, and for her.
Making medical decisions for your children is never easy. How about you? Have you ever struggled with guilt or confusion when making choices about how best to treat your child’s chronic illness?