Effects of Infantile Atopic Dermatitis

In my online mommy chat groups as well as my mommy play date groups and parenting groups, every day I am in attendance, at least one person asks questions (and get varied answers for questions) about how to treat their baby's atopic dermatitis/eczema. Infantile eczema seems to either be becoming an increasing problem or an increasing topic of discussion or both.

Missing out on the bigger problem

While people seem to be increasingly discussing their problems and struggles with atopic dermatitis and finding a "cure" or prevention that works for their child, few people discuss the internal effects and impact atopic dermatitis has on the parents and children who experience it daily.

Outside judgments

Atopic dermatitis is so much more than an external ailment. It affects its inhibitors from the outside in. As a parent of a child with atopic dermatitis, I have received many cold, curious stares from strangers in passing. I still have vivid memories from when my daughter's infantile atopic dermatitis was on her face. I remember all too well all the unwanted comments.

Uninformed strangers

I genuinely believe that none of the comments or concerns I received were meant to be malicious. However, more often than not, they hurt. It hurt being asked "What is wrong with her face?" and "Is it contagious?" and "Why does her face look like that?"

Questioning my parenting

However, the greatest sting by far, was the painstaking stabs at my parenthood. Especially because strangers often think I am younger than I am, they often perceive me as a young mom that does not know what she is doing.

Playing the blame game

They often think I did "something wrong" to "cause" my daughter's atopic dermatitis. I was even at times informed of "what I did wrong". The ill-informed commentary of many people who do not have a full understanding of atopic dermatitis affected me mentally more than it should. It called to question my parenthood.

Fear of social sharing

Even posting pictures on social networks tended to be a difficult task. I was afraid of ridicule, questions that I did not know the answer to, and suggestions that I would feel obligated to try, which subjected my poor baby girl to trial and error.

Still trying to figure it out

Moreover, being a new mom often makes you slightly more easily influenced as it is presumed that older, more seasoned parents or parents with multiple children know more or have more accurate information. Its similar to peer pressure, the pressure to try things that more seasoned parents are doing because it works for them and their children. Parents who speak with confidence can be rather convincing to a parent who is still figuring it out.

Feeling helpless as a parent

It takes a toll on you, the world's view of your baby or child when his or her eczema is at its worst. But by far the greatest mental anguish is watching your child itch, be irritated, and hurt and knowing there is very little you can do to alleviate his or her pain; wishing you could do something, anything to help, yet knowing that despite your best efforts, the irritation remains.

Yet sometimes society views it as a small problem. One look at your poor child and any parent would agree. It's anything but a small feat and it's so much more than just skin deep.

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