Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Today we had our annual medical appointment in hospital with Leander. Bloodpressure, ECG, Ultrasound. It's mainly routine for us. It's hell for him. But with every visit to hell we come out with a new insight. Today there were quite a few.

For every doctor's appointment I kept preparing Leander. I told him what was coming up and acknowledged his feelings. And yet every appointment was crazy. He was fine beforehand when I told him. He got anxious and silent when we arrived and screamed the hell out during procedures. I did my best and yet I couldn't help him. I was lost.

Then Lisa Sunbury from Regarding Baby gave me a few insightful hints. Because we figured that he was ok before the appointment and a happy boy almost the second we left the room. So what Lisa suggested was:

"I think that is a KEY point... A lot of times WE (as adults) worry, and we want to process or help our child process feelings, but for them, the way they do this is right in the moment... There is the experience, there are the feelings, there is the expression of feelings, and then, (if they are allowed to have and express all of their feelings with our support), they move on, and feel better. The younger the child, the more true this tends to be. Sometimes we hold on to the feelings or experience long after they have moved on, which is not to negate the fact when it comes time to go to the doctor again, the feelings might resurface, and more processing may need to happen."

So I watched Leander carefully the whole time we were in hospital. At one point after he was done with the ECG and allowed to put his shirt back on he suddenly went from crying to screaming. It wasn't that something was hurting him. It was a real and honest "I HATE THIS!!!" scream. You know the healthy one we as adults should let out every now and then too. It looked and sounded so honest that in that moment I felt like joining in. Because I hated it too. I hated the hassle and the lack of understanding they bring towards children and their emotions. In the pediatric clinic!!! I hated being here in the first place. I hated the whole experience that came flashing back every time I set foot in that hospital.

Leander was really really quiet and tense between those procedures while we had to wait for what felt like ages. He cried a lot during the ultrasound as well. Then he was done and he calmed down while we talked to the cardiologists about the results. When we left the room he suddenly wanted to run towards the kids corner . The area he couldn't have cared less about beforehand. When I said that we were done and ready to go he said he wanted to stay and play. Right here and there!!! So yes. Maybe Lisa was right. He had the feelings, he expressed them and he moved on. Done.  
How wonderful. How inspiring. 

All the doctors and nurses are surprised how bad Leander reacts the minute he walks into a room filled with medical equipment. That usually made me wonder. How come that my child was like this? After I spent so much time and effort into preparing him, being honest with him and supporting him all the way through? How come he still had such a hard time?  Today I saw it. It's not that we are not doing enough. It is BECAUSE we are supporting him and he's allowed to express all of his feelings and emotions. He was allowed to do so from day one. 
Distractions never work with him. Because he is not used to them. He gets really mad at nurses holding toys in his face. And so he is not used to holding back his emotions either. He is allowed to let it all out and so he does. He feels safe enough to do so.

Maybe it's about time that we as adults start expressing our feelings too instead of nicely wrapping them in a "Nae thanks, I'm alright." face.
We always just think of how mad a world would be with people screaming around all the time. But maybe we wouldn't have to scream so much if we would just DO it every now and then ?

What would you want to scream about today? 

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