When my hubby and I found out I was pregnant, we were thrilled! We invested time in preparing our soon to be baby’s bedroom, read up on breastfeeding knowledge and how to care for a newborn. Like many parents, we were excited about his arrival.
When Samuel finally arrived we were thrilled to finally see him but were also flustered to cope with our new addition. Just when we thought things were getting better, Samuel was diagnosed with chronic eczema in his 2nd month. Seeing our precious son’s body covered with drying itchy skin with little help from moisturizers brings pain to my heart. I recalled running to various pharmacies to buy different creams to try on Sam, visited many Paediatricians and were referred to a dermatologist to sought help. We finally could do a skin prick test when he was nine months old and found out that he was also allergic to cow’s milk.
During these dark moments I will always questioned “Why me? Why make a small baby suffer from such pain and severe itch? Did I eat something wrong to have caused him this?” Like many new parents in similar situations, I was desperate to find solutions to manage Samuel’s condition and to find support. It was through a friend that I stumbled across Mei’s blog. Mei, a 35-year-old mom, started her blog EczemaBlues.com to bring support and comprehensive information to parents on eczema for their child. As Mei’s daughter Marcie suffered from eczema since two weeks old, Mei understood how frustrating and stressful it could be for new parents to care for an eczema child.
Mei and her husband found out that Marcie was diagnosed with eczema at two weeks old. Marcie is 3 years old today and if you ask Mei, she will tell you that having eczema is no joke. Being a first time mom, and alone at home most of the time taking care of a baby who scratch her scalp with blood-stained fingernails (even before other babies know that they have fingers) is certainly no joke to her. She went from confusion to blaming her spouse for the ‘eczema gene’, to anxieties about her constant scratching, her diet and anger towards God for letting her precious daughter experience such trial. Thankfully, Mei and her husband managed to tide through the “dark times” and are now able to bring Marcie’s eczema under control.
Like Mei, as we look back on the “dark times” sourcing desperately for a solution for our beloved child, we learnt invaluable truths and lessons that are important for us to hang on:
1. Stay Calm Emotionally And Know That The Flares CAN Be Managed
The top thing is being calm emotionally, and knowing that the flares can be managed. Mei shares that though Marcie still scratches whenever it is warm, or when she’s tired or can’t have her way, they have managed to learn to control when it flares.
2. Stop Googling For Answers Late Into The Night
If we are sleep deprived we could become more irritable, angry, more prone to stress (which we already are very stressed with our eczema babies) and less energized throughout the day. (Wikipedia) Our current goal is to stay as clear headed as possible for our child and to stay calm to encourage them too. The Internet is wide and it contains all sorts of information – accurate and inaccurate ones. For one, googling on the information may scare you more, let alone searching for answers late into the night. Yes we should be aware of what we are dealing with but accessing the information with sanity and seeking the right information from the right professionals is key in our journey. So don’t scare yourself by googling late into the night and trying to find all the possible triggers in the world! It will NOT help.
3. Cry If You Need To
When I realised that Samuel has chronic eczema coupled with a life threatening allergic reaction to cow’s milk, I cried myself away grieving about the challenges he will face ahead. I grieved knowing that the condition maybe permanent as some didn’t outgrow them, and the huge amount of food he cannot eat because of the allergy. So, go ahead and cry and know that you are NOT alone. Crying is necessary and therapeutic for the soul.
4. Speak To Someone
Talking to someone who has went through similar experiences or joining an eczema parent support group like the one Mei has set-up has been a tremendous help for me as a first time mom. I met many other moms who have went through challenging eczema and allergy episodes with their child and how they rally around each other for support and encouragement. It was comforting to know that I could find someone, a stranger, who actually understands my anxieties and didn’t think that I was making a fuss out of something minor.
5. Take A Skin Prick Test
As Mei would agree, taking a skin prick test reduces a lot of stress when a parent knows what to look out for, rather than being worried about every possible trigger out there. I remembered feeling a sense of relief when I knew that cow’s milk was one of the triggers to Samuel’s eczema condition, and how I can work towards avoiding foods with cow’s milk to help him manage his condition.
For more information on eczema:
By Yvonne Chee
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