Should You Lie to Your Pediatrician?
Your child is healthy and the doctor has no medical concerns, but what happens when you and your pediatrician don’t see eye-to-eye on parenting issues?
I don’t like lying. I’m not very good at it, yet I’ve been lying to our pediatrician.
While pregnant with my daughter, we met with a prospective doctor. He came highly recommended, had a great sense of humor, listened to our concerns and was personable. It didn’t hurt that he was kind of cute in that nice-guy-next-door kind of way. There was no question that we wanted him to be our pediatrician. Over the next year, he watched her grow and was very encouraging to us as brand new parents.
Unfortunately, our insurance company would no longer cover the hospital network where our beloved pediatrician worked. We didn’t have a lot of time or doctors to choose from anymore. After the first visit with the new doc it was clear I’d either have to start lying or be lectured at every appointment.
The initial appointment started out well enough. Even though all the files were released and transferred, she asked questions to get to know the family.
Doctor: How much milk is she drinking?
Me: Um, breastmilk and a couple cups of cow’s milk a day.
She expressed a few concerns about my daughter’s growth being very low on the charts. The old doc never considered her growth to be a problem since she continued to grow even though she was on the smaller side.
Doctor: Is she sleeping through the night?
Me: Yes, oh yes, most of the time.
Doctor: Where is she sleeping? Crib or bed?
Me: (Oh crap.) …bed.
Doctor: Really? She’s staying in it?
Me: (Glancing at husband.) Yes.
Doctor: Where is her bed? Is she in a toddler bed?
Me: No, our bed.
If I could go back in time, I would probably have lied and told her what she wanted to hear. Why couldn’t she be more like our last pediatrician? He asked the important questions like how our baby girl was doing. How was she sleeping? Not where was she sleeping!
For months I was afraid of being asked. We had not planned on cosleeping, but it ended up working the best for our family. This new doctor didn’t approve one bit and began to lecture me. I let her speak her piece and voice her concerns. Then I explained that I was aware and have done my own reading on cosleeping. She kept pushing the issue though and it shook me up. I was angry, embarrassed and briefly second guessed myself.
As a new mom, I wanted the doctor’s approval. I wanted reassurance that my daughter was happy and healthy because I was doing a good job. What I didn’t want was someone shoving their parenting style at me as the only way to do it. The question of where she was sleeping and needing to transition was brought up again and again until I started telling her what she wanted to hear.
I didn’t like doing it. Lying to my doctor makes me uncomfortable, but I felt compelled to unless I found someone else to see. Thing is, her medical knowledge is sound. She’s a good doctor, but that’s all I want her to be. I am open to her medical advice but no longer discuss parenting choices with her. Sometimes she asks directly which creates the dilemma all over again like when my son was born. But this time I told her what she wanted to hear right away.
I want to have open and honest communication with her, but have chosen to separate medical and parenting discussions. It’s not easy, but we have to make it work together somehow. I suspect she knows I’m answering the sleep questions with half truths now, but it’s the only thing I lie about.
Would you lie to your pediatrician?
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