Respect those who make choices different from your own

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post with this title for Natural Living Des Moines, and its focus was on organic vs conventional farming. But the same idea applies to the realm of health care choices for you or for your children.

There are few things in healthcare that are just cut-and-dried. There are few situations where you’re choosing between A (the devil) or B (heaven on earth). Each family has to read the relevant research (or talk to the relevant doctors) and make the best decision for their child, or their family. The research a family does may include talking to others who’ve faced the same decision, but the family may make a decision different from those to whom they’ve talked. And that’s OK.

For some families, the most “natural” approach will be the right one, from a personal and a medical perspective – they’ll prefer to use herbs or food instead of drugs if possible. And for some families, they may prefer this type of approach, but it’s not right for their child from a medical perspective. And for some families, they may think herbs are akin to voodoo and that’s ok, too.

For some families, a minor outpatient procedure to correct some minor issue might be the right solution, whereas for other families, just waiting it out is the right solution.

For some families, feeding their tube-fed child formula from a can might be the best solution – or it might be the solution they tried first and it’s working so let’s not rock the boat. For other families, feeding their tube-fed child with whole foods is the best solution. For other families, feeding their tubie with whatever the rest of the family is eating (chicken nuggets and Frooty Pebbles included) is the best solution.

Not everyone has to agree on the “best” approach.

You might have decided on the best approach for your situation, for your child, for your family – but you haven’t come up with the best approach for all of mankind.

I think most people in the medical-needs community are pretty good at this. We’re sick of being judged by families who have no concept of the types of decisions we’ve had to make, and we do a decent job of not judging other medical-needs families.

But we’re not always great at it. We are, after all, still humans. (well, I mean, SOME of us are super-human, but most of you…  PLEASE I’m kidding.) There’s still some of that snobbery that comes into play. There’s still some of that “I need others to make the same decision I made in order to validate that I made a good decision.” And there’s still some of that “I have to put down the other possible choices in order to make my own choice look better” mentality. And it’s ridiculous.

Inasmuch as a part of this blog’s purpose is to help other families facing the same or similar circumstances, I try to explain, when we’ve had decisions to make, the research, the thought process, or the reasons for making each decision. I try to do so, not with the intention to persuade, but with the intention to explain. So someone comes along googling about one of the topics I’ve shared here, and they can read some basic background information, they can read my research, they can follow my links, and they can see how I made my decision. And they might say, “hey, that sounds right for our family, too.” Or they might say, “hm, this thing that’s a priority for Sarah just isn’t a priority for our family, and because our priorities are different, we’ll probably end up making a different decision.” And that’s OK!!

I don’t need other people to handle situations the same way I have in order for me to feel good about my decision. And other people knocking my decisions doesn’t make me any less confident that I’ve made the best decisions I could based on the information available, every single time.

And honestly, I enjoy reading about other families in similar circumstances who made different decisions, and what led them to that decision. It’s part of an ongoing learning process. It enables me to, in the future, tell someone who happens to ask, “we decided X, and this is what happened, but I know a family who decided Y, and this is what happened.”

So if you read this blog, or you happen across it while looking for specific information to help you make a decision, please feel free to comment on any of the posts that helped you with a decision – whether you ended up doing the same thing we did, or if you ended up deciding to do something completely different. This is how we learn from one another!


2 thoughts on “Respect those who make choices different from your own

  1. You actually helped me quite a bit! I ran across your blog when I was doing a search on my sons issues with his kidneys. His issues were no where near as severe as Teddy’s but to us, it was one of the biggest things we have faced. Your tubie posts and information were very helpful when Maxten ended up with his tube. And while I wasn’t able to put breastmilk through is tube (I just didn’t have enough for his daily feeds *plus* his extra needs), I very much admired your tenacity and that you were able to do so. I love your posts and updates on Teddy. I wish him and his wonderful donor a quick recovery and very healthy futures.

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