I am a mom, wife and pediatrician living on the central coast of California. For ten years I was the director of our pediatric hospitalist program, specializing in newborn care and severely ill or injured children. During this time I also became a parent myself and I could feel my passion begin to shift. I want to help heal your child when he is sick, but as a mother and a pediatrician I also want to do everything I can to prevent his illness or injury. There are so many reasons kids are hospitalized that are not preventable, but every day I still see injuries and illnesses that might have been prevented. No parent ever wants to see his or her child sick or hurting. If I can share information here that keeps even one child from harm, and one parent from heartache, then I have accomplished my goal.
Parenting is a journey that we can watch others embark on, but we will never know how challenging, life altering, and rewarding it can be until we walk the path ourselves. When I had my first child I suddenly felt guilty for not being a better friend to those dearest to me who had gone down this path before. It is hard work! I knew I was lucky to have had years of training in child care, development, illness and accident prevention, but I did not feel so lucky to be holding a screaming infant for hours on end night after night. There is nothing anyone can do to prepare you for that! Luckily we got through it and 19 months later my screaming baby was followed by her very mellow baby sister. Balance was once again restored to our lives.
In medicine, and in parenting, there are many different philosophies and many different ways to achieve the same goal. We want our children to be healthy. We don’t want them to suffer. We want them to be happy. There are so many paths to take, and it is often our children who teach us the most on this journey.
My training and experiences have taught me that there are some truths that are universal: Car seats and helmets save lives, antibiotics don’t cure viruses, babies cry a lot, postpartum mommies cry a lot. The list is expansive and ever growing. Knowing the facts may not make the day any shorter, but if you have the information you can make the best choices for your child and your family.
Thanks for visiting!
Natasha Raja, MD, FAAP