Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

My health visitor told me to do it

with one comment

Following on from the Mrs Beeton post, I feel in a bit of a snarky mood about this subject and think it’s time for a nicely judgemental comedy rant. This one is along the lines of: if your health visitor told you to jump off a bridge with your baby in your arms, would you do it?

A “health visitor” is a strange breed of busybody nurse who is almost a social worker. When you have a baby one will come and interfere visit your house ‘in the community’ from the local ‘clinic’ to patronise teach you how to raise your baby according to government guidelines.

I now know or know of several young mothers – maybe half a dozen – and the number is expanding as we speak (another one is pregnant). Deciding to have children in your early thirties seems to be a bit of a social virus. Call it the curse of the middle classes. Once the golden “thirty” line has been crossed women go into instant panic-I-am-going-to-be-infertile-in-five-years mode and turn sex into a chore by marking their ovulation dates and taking their temperature. Once one woman has done it, it triggers a domino effect and one by one the rest get pregnant too. Unless you have a particularly stubborn partner like mine.

All of these young mothers thought motherhood was going to be wonderful and they were going to have angelic children because they felt they would make really good mothers. Unfortunately being a good mother isn’t just about loving children and raising them to behave, it’s also about diet, acknowledging that life isn’t perfect, and not expecting your child to behave like a household gadget or an employee, which I fear is the trend with the average middle class working mother these days.

All of the young mothers I know have crying, irritable, demanding babies and toddlers who won’t sleep at night and seem to have strange health/developmental problems like eyes or ears that don’t work properly. Most have farmed their kids out to dodgy babysitters or expensive nurseries after a few months of looking after them just to get away from them, which I find vaguely disgusting. I mean, why bother having one? Did you get bored with your Nintendo Wii that day? I don’t judge women’s right to work when she has young children, but if you don’t actually need to work then you should be making an effort. Those first couple of years are pretty darn important for brain development, and being plonked in the corner of a room with one teenaged nursery nurse and twenty other squealing brats doesn’t cut it as a pre-school education. The chav babysitter around the corner with five kids of her own who feeds your child squeezy cheese and red shoe string liquorice for lunch does not cut it either. Nor that most frequently used babysitter, the television, not even if it is showing ironically named “Baby Einstein” DVDs that give the infant brain less exercise than watching an episode of Scooby Doo. And Einstein was after all an autistic and didn’t talk until he was two.

All of these young mothers are alienated from their friends who don’t have babies, who ‘just don’t understand’. All of them nursed and supplemented with artificial baby milk due to health visitors telling them their babies weren’t fat enough (another kettle of fish, since the standard graph of “normal” baby weights are taken from bottle fed babies who are significantly heavier and more sumo-wrestler-like than breast-fed babies). All of them have done or intend to go on to wean with high-chemical fruit and vegetable baby food sold in pretty little glass jars (organic ones, of course). It’s sort of like dog food psychology. It’s called dog food, therefore it must be what dogs are supposed to eat. If it’s called organic dog food, it must be the sheer pinacle of what dogs are supposed to eat.

I can see where these young mothers are going. In a couple more years time I’ll see them in the supermarket negotiating in quietly stressed voices with their terrible toddlers that would you please put the tomato sauce back on the shelf and in a minute we can go outside and you can have some chocolate buttons. No dear, please get up off the floor because Daddy is waiting outside for us, how about some coca-cola instead? All right you can have the tomato sauce then but please stop crying or I will have to pick you up and tell you ‘there there’.

Then, much to my astonishment, one of them will announce that they are going to have another baby. What? Why? Wait!! But you didn’t fix the first one yet!! And the whole domino effect will come around again. Because you can’t just have one because then they won’t have a little sister or brother to get into fights with and beat up. That would be ‘selfish’.

I feel very sorry for them, but somewhat more sorry for the babies than the mothers. Every time I have made tentative suggestions about diet to these young mothers I have been sharply rebuffed. I avoid young mothers like the plague now, because it’s rather distressing for me to see them putting their babies through hell whilst being deaf to any advice that isn’t from a midwife or a health visitor.

Sometimes I picture a cartoon in my head: someone making a tentative but common sense suggestion, and an irate, flustered, young mother replying angrily: “that isn’t what my health visitor says I have to do!!!” in other words, mind your own beeswax. My health visitor is God and knows better than everyone else. In my case, it’s mind your beeswax you don’ t have a baby, or, mind your beeswax you’re that weirdo who is on the Atkins diet so I can’t trust a word you say. In other people’s case, I’m sure it’s mind your beeswax, you’re a man, or mind your beeswax, I don’t care if you’re my mother I still resent you for not bringing me up the way I would like to have been brought up because you smacked me once and I’ll raise my own kids exactly the way I think is best thank you…!

Some examples:

– You know, bananas and other fruit are known to cause diahorrea in babies.
That isn’t what my health visitor says I have to do!!! My health visitor says babies should be weaned onto ‘soft foods’ like fruit and vegetable purees!

– You know, if he is sleepless and crying a lot, it is possible that it is one of the artificial ingredients in the baby formula.
That isn’t what my health visitor says I have to do!!! My baby is overweight but my health visitor says I have to stop him from losing weight by giving him baby formula as well as breast milk!

In fact, overweight babies usually undergo a short downwards correction shortly after birth that is often misinterpreted by over-zealous nurses as ‘OMG losing weight!!!’ It’s nothing to worry about.

– Fruit juice is quite acidic and sugary so it’s not very good for the teeth and certainly won’t help her to get to sleep at night.
That isn’t what my health visitor says I have to do!!! My health visitor told me to stop feeding milk at bedtime and feed fruit juice instead because milk rots babies teeth!!!

Yes, seriously, and it was believed, possibly because the mother is prejudiced against animal foods, or prejudiced against me, or is totally hypnotised by authority, or just lacks common sense.

Question: How many young mothers does it take to change a baby’s diaper?
Answer: I don’t care! My health visitor told me I have to do it THIS WAY and I shouldn’t potty train until he has worked his way through every Pampers product on the market!!!

I was potty trained at six months by the way, which is perfectly normal, or was normal back in the seventies. And my mum used natural, washable nappies. I think it’s kind of disgusting seeing two year olds running around with nappies on. If a child is old enough to walk, it is certainly old enough to use a potty. Would you wait until a puppy was a year and a half old before house training it? Six months?? My health visitor told me my toddler wouldn’t have the necesssary cognitive skills until he was 18 months old! I don’t want to give him a bedwetting complex!!! LOL. Scuppered again. Cognitive skills? To pee in a potty? Perhaps my brain developed on time due to me still having fat, salt and sugar in my diet.

I’m beginning to see these health visitor types as some kind of strange big-brother invention designed to make sure mothers toe the government line on baby raising. I bet the health visitors report back to the social workers so any children who don’t get ‘five a day’ can be earmarked for adoption to keep the council coffers full.

My partner reads several doctor’s blogs. Doctors, apparently, hate midwives and health visitors. Their advice is always wrong. They always think they know best. And health visitors always think doctors are idiots. Ironic isn’t it?

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Written by alienrobotgirl

9 August, 2007 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Quacktitioners

One Response

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  1. Brilliant post 🙂

    Mother Nuture

    10 August, 2007 at 1:28 am


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