Advocating is Educating
Being a caregiver is no easy task. It requires a great deal of patience, dedication, sacrifice, and understanding. Being a caregiver also requires self-reflection, education, and awareness.
Learning as a caregiver
As a caregiver of a toddler, I learn something new every day about her and who she is, how she operates and what works for her as well as what does not. As a first time mom, I educate myself; do research as needed, talk to my childcare provider, doctor, and whatever other professionals and experts I need to speak with to ensure that my baby has everything she needs to have a successful toddler life.
All the aforementioned are required and necessary as a caregiver for a person with any illness, ailment, disease, or condition as well. The challenge of caregiving is significantly increased when you add in any condition or illness. The need for self-reflection, awareness, and information reaches new heights.
Growing as a caregiver
2018 brings to an end, my first full year as a parent and caregiver of a beautiful little girl who has atopic dermatitis. As I reflect on my first 6 months (in 2017) and my first full year (2018), I realize that I have made tremendous growth as a parent and caregiver.
- I have done my research.
- I have realized and discovered what works well for atopic dermatitis and what does not.
- I have discovered best practices for my daughter as well as how her own personal needs differ and are similar to others with atopic dermatitis.
- I reach out to other parents of babies, toddlers, and children with atopic dermatitis to get ideas.
- I also talk to her healthcare professionals about what works and seek help when I need it.
- I make necessary changes and provide outstanding proactive prevention for my child as best I can.
- I encourage her, support her, and remind her that her condition is a part of her but does not define her.
I think myself to be a great caregiver.
Growing as an advocate
I am also proud to say I have made great growth as an advocate as well.
What does advocating mean?
Advocating is about supporting but also about informing and educating others. Advocating is making others aware of a condition or problem as well as helping them understand possible solutions. Advocating for someone is supporting him or her by doing all the aforementioned.
My accomplishments advocating
- I advocate for other children with atopic dermatitis or other skin conditions and skin sensitivities by informing their parents of what works for my child and what I have found in research.
- I provide suggestions and ideas.
- I advocate for my daughter by explaining her process and needs to her, even now.
My accomplishments educating
Even though I know she is just beginning to understand, I educate her on her needs.
- I tell her the importance of a short bath time.
- I tell her how and where to put each of her creams and lotions. She discovers names of her body parts as we put these items on.
- I also support and encourage her to have a positive body image and not review her atopic dermatitis as blemishes that make her any less beautiful.
Educating and advocating as a caregiver
That old saying, “If you give a man a fish, he will have food for a night, if you teach a man to fish he will have food for a lifetime,” holds very true for caregiving and advocacy. If you give care, a person will only know how to be taken care of, if you educate and advocate, a person will be able to care for themselves and have awareness and understanding of their condition all their lives.
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