While I was pregnant with my first child I had a lot of time to read. I bought books to help me through my pregnancy and books to help me with parenting. I looked up to my older cousin who was my model for breastfeeding my future daughter and I asked for guidance from my older sister who was a mom already for eight years. I interviewed pediatricians. YES. I interviewed pediatricians. I wanted to find a doctor who wasn’t quick to give an antibiotic if my child was sick and who had time to answer my questions, because I had a LOT of questions.
Thirteen years later, after going in many different directions trying to find the balance of care for my children, I have learned that each of my kids are prone to different sicknesses, have different demeanors and different needs. Baby number 1 had skin problems. She was diagnosed with a ton of allergies that I decided to address with immunotherapy. Baby number 2 had asthma. I would stay up with him for hours on end, watch him sleep, and nebulize him while he lay there helpless as an infant depending on me to help him open up his lungs with steroids to help him breathe. Baby number 3 was prone to ear infections. As I began to grow in my yoga practice I learned that because of his dosha he was prone to producing lots of mucas which of course can lead to ear infections so I cut back on his dairy and monitored his diet just a little more closely than the others. Baby number four was born with an extra chromosome. This extra chromosome can be the cause of many different health issues we might have to face as a family. The first of which we had to address with surgery when she was only 18 hours old. When I need to look for answers now, I can easily search the internet and choose from a plethora of medical websites to quell the questions I might have regarding my children’s medical care.
As I continue to grow with my children, I have come to find a healthy balance between eastern and western medicine, holistic and clinical care. Because of this, I feel more informed in my choices since having my first baby almost fourteen years ago. This sense of empowerment gives me what I need to make the best decisions based on the needs of each of my children. Which is why, when I was invited to P.L.A.Y. I jumped at the opportunity to learn more.
P.L.A.Y. (Protection, Love, & Activities for Young Kids) was an event organized by Mommy Mundo which focused on disease awareness and was supported by GSK. (Glaxo Smith Kline) Together, with some very well known mommy bloggers from Manila, I learned about the risks of Invasive Pneumococcal Diseases (IPD). These include the minor Otitis media (otherwise known as ear infections), Pneumonia, Sepsis, and the very severe-Meningitis.
The entire afternoon was filled with fun things for both mommies and kiddos. Through games and teamwork we reinforced our understanding of these preventable diseases.
Dra. Minette A. delos Reyes’ talk was chockfull of information. I’ll highlight some of the slides from her presentation that I found most interesting and informative.
All of these diseases are preventable because of the advancement in medicine and vaccines. There is no reason why any child should suffer from these diseases if there is an immunization that can prevent the onset of symptoms. Unfortunately, level of care and immunizations are sometimes compromised by a parent’s ability to be able to afford the immunizations. To learn more about how Mommy Mundo provides assistance to those who need it click here.
I suppose the statistic that shocked me the most is the fact that 37 children die a day in the Philippines due to Pneumonia. These children range in age from 1-59 months. In fact, from my discussions with Gelli’s pediatrician, I also learned that the greatest risk of these I.P.D.’s is during the first two years of my daughter’s life.
Gelli’s pediatrician is always so patient with my questions and explains all her answers with so much authority that it’s easy to recognize that she has been practicing for many years. With the convenience of the internet, informative workshops on parenting, and older moms who have gone through it before I have learned to do my homework before administering the next shot on the list. Sometimes, the information I might find is scary. But at least I’m armed with that information and possible side effects that I need to be a better parent for each of my children.
Fast forward to me living in Manila, learning more through experience how each immunization has affected each of my children and factor in Gelli’s extra chromosome and immunity, I am no longer what doctors would categorize as a “passive” parent. My questions have changed and so has my outlook on immunizations. I do not always follow what the doctor would suggest for my toddler. Whereas, when Gia was small they would give her anywhere from 5-11 different innoculations in one well visit (with 2-3 different injections) I have now shyed away from such practices for Gelli. I do follow the schedule for her immunizations…I’m just a little bit behind. I don’t think it’s necessary to subject her little body to that many different viruses all at once. So, instead of giving her a 5 in 1 and 6 in 1 shot at the same time, I break it up and ask the doctor if we can come back in a month for the second one. I realized after Dra. Reyes talk that while I may feel better about delaying some of Gelli’s shots, it’s not entirely necessary in preventing any kind of adverse reactions. I suppose my peace of mind comes from the fact that my baby won’t have to be stuck with a needle too many times in one day. I have also met mothers who have chosen not to immunize their children at all. While this is not a viable choice for me in parenting my children, I applaude them for making decisions based on their own belief system of what is right for their child. I just don’t think that I could take the risk, knowing that there would be a chance for my baby to contract some of these diseases.
The point is, we as mothers have so much information at our fingertips. We can share that information with other mothers who are open to it, and we do so willingly because we are all trying to do the same thing…care for our children in the best way we know how. Caring for my children doesn’t just include packing a balanced lunch for them to bring to school, or making sure they go to bed on time after they brush their teeth, it also means educating myself on ways to keep them healthy, strong, free from harm, and free from diseases that are preventable.
For more information on how to prevent diseases with vaccination please visit www.mommymundo.com/vaccinate/