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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.

Increased responsibilities

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.

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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.

My accomplishments

  • 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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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