My biggest complaint about my experience caring for a hippy baby was constantly having to reassure everyone else that my baby is okay. (I should start by saying I live in a busy neighborhood in Queens, New York. We do not have a car as everything is either in walking distance or accessible by subway.)
At times the comments from strangers as I walked down the street with baby L. seemed endless. They were frustrating and exhausting. Since L.’s hip journey started when she was so young, we were able to use her stroller with a bassinet for the duration of her treatment. The bassinet is adequately wide to fit her harness, and later her brace, while maintaining her frog-legged position. The bassinet, however, allowed for easy peering in to.
Nearing my wits end with the seemingly never-ending commentary I reached out to the community of hippy families. Here were my main takeaways:
- As obnoxious as the comments were that I was hearing, they were nothing compared to what some other moms had heard. My normal encounters included, “Oh no!” and “What happened to her legs?” to “Why did you put her in that?” Whereas, moms of in spica casts regularly heard far worse, comments that insinuated that their own actions resulted in the child having to wear the cast.
- In order to avoid having these unwanted interactions with strangers, many moms resorted to covering up their babes. This didn’t sit right with me either. Although I understand that ultimately you have to do what works for you, I didn’t want to cover up L. because that would suggest I was embarrassed and I wasn’t. I did find that when I started carrying L. in the Ergo 360 her brace was not visible, which eliminated this problem entirely. I chose to baby wear out of convenience.
- Other moms readily embraced the opportunity to inform people about Hip Dysplasia. At times I felt the need to act as a Hip Dysplasia advocate, explaining what it is, how it’s diagnosed and treated, and even the expected outcome. But, other times I wanted to be able to walk from point a to point b without interruption of a nosy member of the community, which often resulted in me having to provide comfort to someone I didn’t know about the wellbeing of my own child.
After giving this issue a lot of thought I figured out what I wanted. I wished that people would act with compassion and consider the fact that as a new mom I was providing the best care for my baby. The decision to put a child in a brace, harness or cast is a difficult one, but one made out of love and concern for a child. Instead of feeling sorry for me or for L., I wish that I’d heard, “Wow that must be difficult or frustrating for you/her, I hope that she is better soon.” or “You’re doing a great job taking care of your baby.”
What experiences have you had interacting with people regarding Hip Dysplasia? How do you respond to negative/hurtful comments?