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Before I Had My Son, I Wish I Had Known…

The biggest surprise for me after having my son was how much control other people wanted over decisions involving him. This came up quickly as he struggled with gaining enough weight from the day he came home from the hospital. Family members wanted to attend doctor’s appointments. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on how we could fix the problem. Some of them were insistent we created the problem ourselves by not following their “expert” advice. None of this was true of course. He was eventually diagnosed with Noonan’s Syndrome which is known to cause all sorts of growth difficulties and not just poor weight gain.

Looking back, if I had known going into it others would be so pushy and insistent to the point of blaming I would have more resistant about having outside involvement in our son’s health concerns. Though, I’m not sure that would have even helped long-term. After all, they probably would’ve tried to exert their influence in other ways if they hadn’t been using all of their energy they way they did. I recommend first-time parents set boundaries early and often. It’s your child. Don’t let anyone else tell you how to raise them.

What do you wish someone had told you before you began having children?

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Finding Resources

Having a child with medical or other special needs can be overwhelming and expensive. Not knowing where to find resources is a common reason children and parents don’t get the support they require. I wish I could transfer everything I’ve learned over the past few years to you. My book is a great resource, but even it doesn’t cover everything exhaustively. Trying to address every challenge all in one place would have made it so vast and unwieldy it would’ve been unreadable.

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What Can I Do to Help?

What Can I Do to Help?

This is the number one question we hear from family members and friends. It doesn’t always come out explicitly and sometimes it’s not even clear. I can see it in their eyes. They want to help and they have no idea how. They feel powerless and it doesn’t feel good. It’s uncomfortable, confusing, and frustrating.

It makes it even more difficult that we don’t always have an answer. Feeding our son isn’t as straightforward as it is for most kids. If someone does watch our son for us we need to be back before it’s time for him to eat. Some aren’t comfortable watching him at all because they don’t understand what it means to have a feeding tube or how to handle an emergency.

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Benefits of Joining a Support Group

Support groups are one of the most helpful things I’ve found to keep my sanity. There’s nothing quite like sitting down and talking through your problems with people that deal with the same issues you do each and every day. I vaguely remember what it was like before I joined them, but mostly its a blur. I knew nothing about tube feeding when they placed my son’s nasal gastric (NG) tube in the hospital. If not for our home care nurse coming once a week I would’ve been completely and utterly lost.

A few people have told me I appear to be handling things really well and have my life together. I thought about why, and it’s because of my support network I’m able to stay calm and keep going. Without them my sanity would scatter to the wind within a matter of days.

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