I am pretty sure its not something that can be studied and concluded that there is a best way for all. But the same rules are still applied to all, anyway. And I have an inkling the opposite rule should actually apply.
You see what happens after an iatrogenic or physical assault and physical medical invasion is not only the action of the assault, but it is training a memory response, a deeply emotional response involving pain, confusion, fear and we do not need to add separation or abandonment into that mix.
But we do.
Most nurses and doctors will wish the parent to separate from the child for the medical necessity that may hurt. For example taking blood, putting up a drip, certain examinations and in the recovery room after surgery. Despite the parents request.
- the parent knows the child best
the child feels automatically soothed and in trust with their parent there.
I will always invite the parent to stay in a procedure with the child and the only reason that that may not be the best is due to the mothers anxiety, which can be overwhelming but I feel should not ideally override the child’s need for comfort and support.
The effect of separation in that situation for me is extremely painful and fearful. I tend to magnify or tunnel vision on the experience for the little soul and what this plays in his life. I see the trauma associated with this post the fact. I see the children scream in fear at any subsequent doctor’s visit / dentist visit and I realise there was a point that this could have been prevented or better managed.
That crucial time when the child will calm physically (heartbeat, breathing, temperature, tension) is when the mother is sent away – behind the door, behind the curtain – away from the child’s vision in his most painful, vulnerable and fearful state. This is exactly when I want my child to know I am there for them no matter what. I don’t need to take the pain away, I don’t need to make him unconscious, I need to simply be there to contain his emotions and be there for him in his peak of vulnerability and need. I want this imprinted in my child’s heart, mind and limbic system for the rest of his eternity. That I did not run cos I couldn’t bear to hear him cry. That I did not slap his arm and tell him to stop being a baby and stop crying. That I did not tell him boys don’t cry. That I did not hide because I don’t like the sight of blood. That I can’t handle him crying because of what it triggers in me, so I fail to hold his space.
We are the parent. We are the rod and nurturer for our children. If we want to face gentle healthcare, we need to pass through these impersonal barriers. Taking the parent away helps the doctor be more forceful when needed to hold the baby to perform the procedure, it also allows the doctor to be more time efficient (in the very short term) and it also allows them to dissociate far easier than to have the emotive parent there.
I cannot trade this primal need of the child for anything more practical. Because in the greater vision – giving and meeting this primal need for NOT SEPARATION, and unconditional SUPPORT is the feed, the fodder for optimal and healthy psychological, neurological and social health.
Please think twice when asked to leave the room for a procedure for the child. If it is not medically indicated (or an obvious bigger procedure demanding certain protocols) then consider the pros and cons for YOUR CHILD. Not anyone else. In the bigger picture it is very clear what is needed.
If we want to be a part of healing global consciousness through parenting it is very clear what is needed. I wish more healthcare professionals could see it this way.
I was asked to leave a recovery room today and was prevented from going in even though I specifically requested and was given permission before the procedure. I knew what my child needed to calm down and I was rudely thrown the order from across the desk that we are not allowed anywhere near there, while the nurses scrambled around trying to read vitals off a distressed, kicking and scared child. I was prevented from going there to simply sit with him even though it would have even helped them. I was told that if every parent came…
The single theatre hospital had an empty recovery room with several nurses and not much else going on. If every parent was given the choice I am sure most would decline to see the child in such distress. I should not have been stopped. I was purely stopped for the doctors ego and convenience. But it was not even convenience because I know my child and I know it would have helped. Eventually I walked straight up to him and took him in my arms.
The nurses had got the readings they needed and were unplugging him from the machines to take him to the ward, anyway. Naturally he calmed down when I got there and we proceeded. They would have only called me while pushing the bed with my child inside past me to the ward.
Conclusion of study on parents attitudes during NMRP (needle medically related procedure).
“From a caring-science perspective, the present study emphasizes that to support children during NRMPs, it is important that the staff are aware of how parents can be affected by the process and of how the parents’ supportive capacity may become affected. Based on this, it is one of the staff’s most important tasks to support parents to enable them to support their child during NRMPs so that they can reclaim their role as the child’s protectors and keep the child “under the protection of their wings.” “
“To regain the role as the child’s protector and to be able to keep the child “under the protection of one’s wings,” parents need support from the staff. “
Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2014; 9: 10.3402
Parents’ perspectives on supporting children during needle-related medical procedures
by , PhD Student,1,2,* Ann-Charlotte Dalheim Englund, PhD,1 Karin Enskär, Professor,2 and Ingela Rydström, PhD1
“The separation of a child from their parents and families during a period of hospital admission is a draconian step and should not be undertaken lightly.
Such separation for a child is likely to be a traumatic and distressing experience for all involved. The importance of continuing contact between the child and their parents whilst the child is in hospital is recognised. In most cases contact will be beneficial and a significant factor in the care, treatment, recovery and rehabilitation of the child.
Any restrictions on contact between those with Parental Responsibility, or significant others, and their children in a hospital setting should be proportionate, based on the available evidence, the needs of the child, an assessment of risk, and in agreement with the family unless there is a basis to intervene with emergency protective or other legal action.”