The Medication Question.
One of the things I’ve always struggled with since becoming a mom is wondering if I’m doing it right. It all started at 3 a.m. after my son was born and I roamed the hospital corridors with a screaming, famished, newborn who was angrily attached to my nipple and clearly didn’t understand why his mother’s breasts were still empty. “Where’s my milk? Feed me already, damnit!” he made clear in his primal screams to me. He hadn’t been in this world more than 12 hours and I already felt like a failure because I couldn’t satiate him. Throughout my pregnancy, I had been intent on exclusively breast feeding and feared the horrors of “nipple confusion” that had been drilled into me at Lamaze. My instructor made me feel like feeding a newborn formula was the lethal equivalent to shooting them up with Crack Cocaine. So I starved my baby for the first few days thinking that I was doing the right thing.
When baby #2 came exactly two years later, I insisted that I have an emergency bottle of formula at my side. “Yes, I’m nursing but my kid needs to eat,” I confidently told the militant maternity nurses who looked scornfully at my Similac and made multiple threats that my nursing wouldn’t take. But I ignored them. After nine months of successfully nursing #1, I felt like I had a Ph.D. in the ability of the breast and was confident that my dual feeding method would work until my milk came in.
But as the cliché goes, the bigger they get, the bigger the problems. And these days, I constantly feel like I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing. We know it takes a village to raise a child, particularly a complicated kid. So I have spent years consulting at great length and great fees my fellow villagers, particularly the doctors among my tribe. But ultimately, I’ve found that the buck stops with mom. Like my first night in the hospital, those BIG decisions seem to fall squarely on me. Not to completely diss my husband, but he looks to me to lead on the kid stuff.
A year ago, I decided to medicate my son for ADHD. I imagine many of you are cringing, especially if you adhere to the Tom Cruise philosophy that all of these disorders are just a bunch of hogwash or that ADHD is the most over diagnosed, over medicated, over hyped condition that has given an excuse for scores of lazy and neurotic parents to dope their kids to their detriment or to no real benefit. I get it because at one time I also thought that ADHD was just a flimsy diagnosis to label today’s ants-in-the-pants kids. But when it’s your kid who is facing a smorgasbord of fuzzy, hard-to-put-your-finger on issues without clear diagnoses, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and just want solutions.
Am I insecure about how I handling all of this? Absolutely. If your child has asthma, you give them an inhaler. If they have lice, you call in the nitpicker and de-lice your home. But if your kid has a complicated cocktail of various issues, what do you do?