One of the tasks I found the most difficult when I was pregnant with my daughter was calling a daycare center to inquire about her attending. I simply could NOT make myself pick up the phone and dial.
I delayed… and delayed… and delayed.
At that time, it felt like the many pieces of me were held together with yellowing 10 year old scotch tape. A small gust of wind from the wrong direction was likely to cause those pieces to crumble apart.
The fact that I had no conclusive answers to anything, and could only talk theoretically about how Spina Bifida might affect her … well… that didn’t help either.
Once she was born, it was like a little glue was added to reinforce the tape. I was stronger, but not fully cemented back together. I had her in my arms, and knew more about the type of extra help she needed. However, I still couldn’t make that dang call! I couldn’t imagine willingly giving someone the chance to reject my child. I wasn’t ready to deal with the reality that some people would only see her disability and not the precious little creature I knew.
My husband would ask me about it periodically. I’d say, “Yes, I need to get in touch with them this week!” But time inched by, and I still didn’t call.
When my daughter was over 2 months old, and we were getting dangerously close to having no one to care for her when I went back to work, I tearfully confessed to my husband that I just could NOT make myself do it. I told him I was scared they would reject her, and that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle it if they did.
Lesson #1: Ask for help & be honest with your partner.
He offered to call them with me. I didn’t know I needed this, but I did. He was working, so we did a three-way call. It was an awkward conversation, and I followed up with an even more awkward email … but we got through it, and to my surprise, they said yes.
Lesson #2: Be bold. Ask people for what you need.
The biggest hurdle for me was asking the daycare if they would be willing to learn to catheterize her if needed. We were lucky at this point that she only needed to be catheterized 2x a day (morning and night), so it was a theoretical ask instead of an immediate need… but it was intimidating. I felt it was important to ask this up front because I wanted their “all in” answer. Last thing I wanted was to be caught unprepared when this very likely scenario arose (which it did, 3 months into her daycare experience).
Lesson #3: Ask if people will be willing to learn what they need to do to care for your child. Don’t ask if they already have the skills. **
I think the daycare center’s willingness to do this for us was partly due to how we asked the question. We didn’t ask if they had a nurse on staff who knows how to catheterize kids. We didn’t ask if the teachers knew how to catheterize. We asked if they would be willing to learn. We also told them about our experience … that the procedure was super intimidating to us at first, but that it became a simple part of our daily habit rather quickly.
** I want to caveat that you obviously want to balance the risk here. Sometimes trained medical professionals are an absolute must. Depends on the child. Depends on the help needed. In our case, the risk to her was low and my husband and I were comfortable with the teachers providing this level of care.
What big bold questions have you had to ask?
How did it go?
Any lessons you learned you’d like to share?