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We Are All Doctor Moms

May 12, 2011

Before becoming a mother, I never considered myself a great cook, teacher, safety expert, house cleaner, party planner, or cheerleader for that matter. And yet, during this journey through motherhood, I am certainly all of these things and more to my children.

As mothers, this is what we do. We assume various roles under this big umbrella of motherhood. Apparently, it’s all part of the job description that no one told us about. But, we do it because we are Moms. And, when our children become sick, get hurt, or face a particular medical issue we become their Doctor Moms. It’s just what we do.

We kiss boo boos, bandage them up, and sing soothing songs. We rock, cuddle, and wipe away tears. We spend sleepless nights at our sick child’s bedside, just watching them breathe. We are unfazed by the copious amount of nasal discharge or the vomit covering our shirts. We painstakingly measure out the correct amount of acetaminophen and double check just to be sure. We kiss those hot foreheads and can predict the height of their fevers within 0.1 degree of accuracy. We change soiled pajamas and bedsheets in the middle of the night and then tuck our children back in.

When we should be sleeping, we worry about the “what ifs”. What if it isn’t just a cold? What if that bump/that rash/that cough is something more? What if? We speak up when we know something is just not right. We investigate, research, and become experts on our own children. We know to trust that nagging feeling. We wait, always hopeful, for those test results whatever they may be. We digest it, go over it a million times in our heads before deciding on the next step. We make sure that the decisions made on behalf of our children align with what we know to be true about them.

We know when to step back and ask for help when we see our child suffering. We never fade into the background. We are there every step of the way. Armed with our motherly expertise and unconditional love, we are essential in their treatment and healing process. We are the ones on the front lines. We are the ones who know our children like no one else.

I spent this past week caring for my sick 3 year old daughter. Through the sleepless nights, the high fevers, and the constant worrying, I realized that what makes me a Doctor Mom, her Doctor Mom, has nothing to do with the M.D. behind my name. It has everything to do with me simply being her Mom.

Now excuse me while I put on my house cleaner hat and disinfect this place.

Melissa is a pediatrician, mom of two, writer, and blogger who writes passionately about motherhood, parenting, and children’s health at Confessions of a Dr. Mom.

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