by laura (5139 Posts), Wed Feb 25, 2004 01:01 am
Jessica, I've been thinking about your post all evening- how to respond without being a hypocrite, while being true to what I believe and still being diplomatic. It's a subject I think about pretty often, for a couple of reasons.
For me, probably the worst and longest-ranging effect I felt from my bout with severe pre-e was losing my trust in my provider. It ranks up there with finding out there is no Santa, my cheating first love, and my parents' separation- with one huge difference- my mistrust led to my presence here, and why I'm still chatting with you guys long after my pre-e babe is out of diapers and into training wheels. I developed this notion of well, you folks don't know what the h**l you're doing, so I'd better figure it out. Changed my worldview, so to speak. Forced me into official adulthood.
And Brewer, I guess you could say, was the root of a lot of that. I was very ill, and I trusted my midwife implicitly, and she told me that there was nothing wrong with me that a little protein wouldn't fix, to eat a steak, and I'll see you next month. Well, my child was squalling on the outside long before that month was up. I'm frequently visited by the understanding that if I hadn't been working at that hospital, if I hadn't known that the headaches she said were normal weren't, if I hadn't followed my instinct- we (my dd and I) may not be here. It's scary (esp for a control freak) to acknowledge that the trust I gave so thoughtlessly could have cost my child her life. It's pretty fair to say that I'm pretty darned angry about it. Still. It's something I'm working on.
I try to look at it this way. This whole "pregnancy is not a disease" thing is a mantra for some folks that has become nearly religon. We, the puffy preeclamptic types, are the 5% that stands in the way of their proof- therefore, it must be our faults. Our mere existence challenges the foundation their world is based on. I can't say in all fairness that they're evil- I think it is arrogance driving this. The premise that our docs impede a natural process that they alone understand is inherently ego boosting for them- and they appeal to our egos by appearing to give the selected few the understanding they need to trump the professionals. The folks I've met of this ilk are the sort who are bright but probably not formally educated- the sort of folks for whom the term 'anecdotal' isn't a pejorative, and for whom 'peer-reviewed' means little. And I guess that's all right-- For the 95% of women who bear children without complication, without Pre-e. I try to understand that they don't know the harm they do in the guise of help, and like our halo-ed Oprah says "they did what they did because it's what they knew. When they know better, they'll do better."
I also try to understand that they may never know better unless it happens to them. And so, until they're struck by the Preeclampsia Fairy, I put the claims into the same realm as my neigbor who thinks the aliens talk to him through the fillings in his teeth- throwing rocks (figurative or literal) wouldn't fix him, nor would reason. Sometimes you just have to nod, and smile, because it's all you can do. And you try to be diplomatic, hopeful that when your sisters in pregnancy are faced with the facts they'll understand, too, and try to not get too impatient with the ones who aren't there yet. Believe me, I've tried fury, sarcasm (any reference to whales and their music probably is mocking ME), reason- it doesn't do anything but get people angry. This is the sort of thing people just have to find their own way on, something we old-timers here on the board learned the hard way. I didn't mean to write a book- but I couldn't go to bed having you think that you were alone in this- you're not, you're not, you're not.
And if anyone violently disagrees with me, that's fine. Email me. I'll just throw in the reminder that this forum is for people who have or have had preeclampsia. Check around the other health forums on the net- it's not appropriate to go to *any* place where people seek support and blame them for their maladies, and it sure isn't appropriate here.
Mom to Alicia (severe PE) 5/98 and Camille (htn, oligo) 4/03