A Letter to My Daughter’s Pediatrician
I think you know the impact of your work as my daughter’s (and other children’s) pediatrician to some extent, but not fully. And I want to write this letter to explain to you just how much you have impacted her and our lives.
When Matt, Gracelyn, and I walked into your office for the first time, Gracelyn was just five days old. It was our second day out of the hospital, and we had in no way gotten a grasp of things yet. The new parent fog was strong. Gracelyn was jaundiced, not eating well, and we were having problems breastfeeding. I didn’t know what to expect from the appointment. I was scared to tell you everything that was going on, because I didn’t want you think that I was already failing as a mom. You asked lots of questions and diligently wrote down all of our answers. Every question you asked, I’ve forgotten, except one.
“Who gives Gracelyn the bottle after you pump?” you asked us. “Matt does,” I responded in defeat, “but sometimes I do, because I want to feel like I’m doing something.”
You stopped writing, turned towards us, and said one of the most encouraging things my five-day post-partum, first-time-mom self would ever hear: “Of course you’re doing something! It might not feel like it, but you are doing a great job.”
Tears of relief welled in my eyes. What a great encouragement! You spent the rest of that first appointment explaining what we should expect in Gracelyn’s first few weeks, as well as how my body would react to it all.
At the end of that appointment, my apprehension about going to a pediatrician melted away.
Since then, you have helped us navigate the murky waters of infant and now toddler health. With each of Gracelyn’s milestone appointments, you spent time talking to us in detail about what we should be seeing Gracelyn do, how she should be developing, her sleeping and eating patterns, and you take time to answer the many, many questions we have. Sometimes, appointments went over an hour but we never felt rushed by you.
Not once have we hesitated to call you and your office with questions about Gracelyn’s health. I know that if her cough sounded more odd than usual or something didn’t feel right, a call to your office would help ease our minds or affirm our parental-instincts to bring her in. Even if we brought her in and the diagnosis ended up being a common cold, you never made us feel foolish.
You were our biggest advocate through Gracelyn’s many ear infections and you took time to reach out to her daycare to advocate for Gracelyn’s need for an exception their policy. These were times when we stood our ground, but it helped immensely to have a medical profession stand beside us.
You don’t know it, but your assurance has helped us feel more confident about being parents. The way you explain things has made us more brave in our approach to parenting, and we measure all the care Gracelyn receives from other doctors to your standards.
Thank you for choosing to practice medicine and choosing to care for our tiny humans. And thank you for caring as much about our daughter as we do.
With deep appreciation,
P.S. – Please, please don’t retire until she is an adult. Thanks.