When I was a new mother I did what I was always taught by example. When you are sick, you go to the doctor. They write a prescription, you get it filled and you take it. This cycle repeats every time you or your child has a fever, heavy cough, sore throat, or any other symptom that you cannot fix with an ice pack or “get better” kiss.
Well, several years into motherhood has taught me some things. There is a reason that doctors in an office call it a “practice.” There is no day when they really know all the answers. In fact, there are many days that the doctors were as baffled as I was about my children’s health. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE our pediatricians. We have been with the same group of doctors we have had since Christina was born 18 years ago.
However 18 years into this motherhood thing, I have seen many times when baffled doctors basically experimented on our children:
- Sarah developed asthma
- Anne Mary got RSV, then got pneumonia 5 times in the next 18 months
- Christina suddenly had unbearable leg cramps and numbness
- Sarah had multiple ear infections
- Anne Mary had unexplained transient hearing loss
- Christina was told she had fibromyalgia
- Anne Mary developed eczema
- David would not/could not sleep more than an hour or two at a time after age 2
- Christina had allergic reactions to medicines given to her after surgery
All of these have really happened to our family in the course of 18 years. In the same time frame, we have had all the usual stomach viruses, ear infections, broken bones, and on and on I could go.
Finally, after doing this medical thing wrong for so many years, I decided it was time to take back our health care. I started watching for trends, and letting minor illnesses go much longer before even considering going to the doctor. I decided to let reasonable fevers run their course. I decided to give my children healthy, wholesome whole grain bread, and experimented with using all organic dairy foods. I concentrated on hand washing more, and making sure that sick children (and sick mommy) got enough rest, rather than pushing through the schedule using medications as props.
I also discovered some amazing all-natural products that help build up our immune systems, rather than fight our natural immune system. I started taking SuperMom vitamins daily, and giving the kids SuperKids Vitamins. We now take Berry Well at the first sign of illness, and I will add it to my daily schedule if the children are sick, just as a preventative. Bee Immune and Bee Strong are also added into the mix when illness strikes. And for my oldest daughter’s monthly bouts with nausea, we use Tummy Tune-Up. I started using a natural progesterone cream for help with premenopausal symptoms. Anne Mary takes a fish oil supplement to help prevent eczema. I also should add that we added good chiropractic care and healthier food into the mix.
The net result is that I feel much more empowered now. I did take David to the pediatrician in January and he remarked: Wow, we have not seen you guys since June. I guess it struck me then that I am so thankful that we have found another way. I am also thankful we have terrific doctors, should something happen that was truly dreadful, but the truth is, I hated paying co-pays and prescriptions when often, the doctors were just “practicing” medicine on my family.
Yes, our family still gets sick. Yes, we do go to the pediatrician when I feel like an illness has “gone on too long” or the symptoms are too severe to handle without professional advice. But for the most part, we are healthier, have far fewer doctor’s visits, and any illnesses we do get seem much shorter in duration.
I know that health care is a very personal matter for families, and want to encourage women – not to do what we did-but to seek knowledge and wisdom in the area of your family’s health and see the best practices for your own family. Ask lots of questions when you go to the doctor, and seek to understand why certain medications do or do not work to help in your family. See what changes you can make at home to improve the health of those under your care, and trust that as their mother, will have instincts and ideas that the doctors may not always see based on a fifteen minute visit. Share your ideas and observations with your pediatrician and if things do not seem right to you, feel free to seek a second opinion or alternate care. An excellent doctor will not be threatened by a parent seeking another opinion. In fact, a confident one will be happy to have you see another competent doctor for an opinion.
Try some new things if you are on the pediatrician wagon. Make hand washing and plenty of rest a priority for all in your home, and work to find ways to make the food you eat healthier. Participate in preventative care.
I pray your family will have a better measure of health in the upcoming years!