Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A mother knows

My friend Olivia for a time wrote a blog called A Mother Knows. I loved her rationale for choosing that name:

"My beautiful son, who is six months old (corrected) as I start this blog, became critically ill in the womb with a terrifying condition called hydrops fetalis and underwent fetal surgery. He was born two months premature and spent his first five months in hospital, finally coming home in June 2011. Although he is now doing really well, he still has some health issues. Why ‘A Mother Knows’? Because the one thing I have learned so far is that a mother knows her child best. Better than the health visitor, better than the midwives, better than the breastfeeding counsellors, better than the people selling useless baby products designed to make you feel bad, better than her own mother, better than any other mother."
I've been reminded of it these past few weeks, with an ill baby myself, and a host of medical professionals who I have no doubt have my child's best interests at heart but just don't know as well as me what my baby needs. What's more, different branches of people working in health have little regard for each other. Pharmacists don't like helplines. Helplines don't like nurses. The Specialists slag off the GPs. The GPs bristle at the thought of a referral and everyone is scathing of those working in the Out Of Hours service. And all the while I must tell every single one what it is we want and what it is we need.

I am reminded of the AA Milne poem, The King's Breakfast:

The King asked
The Queen, and
The Queen asked
The Dairymaid:
"Could we have some butter for
The Royal slice of bread?"
The Queen asked the Dairymaid,
The Dairymaid
Said, "Certainly,
I'll go and tell the cow
Now Before she goes to bed.
Only it's more dog's dinner than king's breakfast. And all the while it is me, the mother, who must go and tell the cow what test we need and what medicine we require. Because Olivia was right, a mother knows best of all.

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