Feelings of Guilt with Childhood Dermatitis
I was writing a blog about whether a child will outgrow atopic dermatitis and kept getting stuck. My fingers felt heavy. I remembered exactly how I felt when we found out that dairy was one my granddaughter’s triggers. It was a paralyzing ache somewhere around my heart. See, I had been feeding her home-made strawberry frozen yogurt pops. Her skin was bright red and broken out. We took her to the doctor and he suggested we do an elimination diet.
At the time, my guilt felt harsh. Today, I have tools that help me examine negative emotions and move right through them. This helps lessen my own Nana guilt trigger! If you have any guilty thoughts, try these steps.
Dealing with feelings of guilt
- Acknowledge what happened – Just saying it out loud, even to no one in particular, helps. It might be that you tried a lotion or cream that set their skin on fire. Perhaps you forgot to bring the meds with you. Maybe you offered a food that brought on a reaction. Just acknowledge that you don’t like how it feels when that situation from the past crosses your mind.
- Forgive yourself or other caregivers – We all do our very best with the knowledge that we have. Have we made mistakes? Certainly. We can’t do everything right all of the time. Every parent, grandparent, or caregiver makes mistakes. No one is going to judge you. If you saw someone else who accidentally did something that may have made their child feel discomfort, you would sooth them. So sooth yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes.
- Let it go – This may be harder than it looks.... just like me and the yogurt pops. We spent several days getting Jill’s skin cleared up. She spent the night, and I fed her a 3:00 AM bottle on the couch - looking straight into my kitchen where I lovingly made the pops. I knew that my intention was a good one. It eased my mind. Writing today, I still remember the sleepless night and wondering if she would outgrow her skin rash. Do we ever really let anything go? Maybe not entirely, but I know not to allow negative feelings to stay. I let them float right past.
- Do something good – Start making positive changes to help your little one feel better. By cuddling and singing to my granddaughter, I assured her, and myself, that I was going to be more cautious. We got serious about the diet. Working to help find a solution is a good thing. You’re doing something good right now by reading about how to help your loved one with skin issues.
The fact that you’re experiencing guilt is an indicator of your goodness. You care enough to do your very best for those you love. If you are willing to acknowledge that you blew it, you can forgive yourself. Letting it go releases the possibility of changes in your routine. You are now making the best use of this moment with your little one. Guilt be gone!
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