I debated whether or not I even wanted to share our experience with physical therapy for Kaiden. In fact, when I first asked Vishnu for his thoughts, we went back and forth and ultimately decided I shouldn’t. But then I started thinking about the message I want to share – there’s no shame in asking for help. An important one for parents (and anyone really), especially in this day and age.
Our story starts way back during the days of tummy time…
Kaiden HATED tummy time with a vengeance. He would scream and scream until we flipped him on to this back. Although I knew it was important for his development, I just couldn’t see him that miserable.
Fast forward to when K was a little less than six months old, my sister talked to me and Vishnu about how she was a little worried about his development in terms of his ability to hold his head up while on his belly, to sit up, to rollover, etc. She told us to ask our pediatrician during K’s six month checkup about Early Intervention programs.
Obviously, hearing my pediatrician sister talk about this worried me quite a bit. And it brought on major feelings of guilt. I didn’t do what I was supposed to do early on and that’s why K wasn’t hitting his milestones. I later learned that this wasn’t true. Babies reach milestones within age ranges not by certain months. It’s all relative. With that being said, you should still enforce tummy time…!
Anyways, to make a long story short, we ultimately decided to get Kaiden a physical therapist because even his pediatrician thought it was a good idea.
I tried to go through the Early Intervention program in Chicago but couldn’t get hold of anyone. We didn’t want to wait, so we found a group that was in our insurance network, and a little after his six month birthday, Kaiden had his first physical therapy session.
And then he had four more after that.
In the time period between his first therapy session and a little past his nine month birthday, Kaiden started sitting up all on his own, he was rolling all over the place, and he started crawling. And now he’s pulling up to stand all on his own.
Was it the physical therapy that pushed him along? Was it just K’s normal progression of development? We’ll never know.
And honestly, when I look back at his sessions, I really think they were more for us. What I mean is that the therapist really gave us tips and methods to help Kaiden move in different ways, to make tummy time more tolerable, to help him roll both on his left and his right (his preferred side), etc. We learned a lot in those one hour sessions. All of which we would apply during the in between time.
If I’m being honest, for me, the guilt and a little bit of shame went hand in hand. I couldn’t believe my little baby boy would have to see a physical therapist. I definitely threw us/myself a pity party or two.
My ultimate lesson from all of this is that it’s ok to ask for help. There’s absolutely no shame in saying, “Something doesn’t feel quite right here. Can you help me?” I wish more people realized this! Getting help doesn’t make your kid any less special or you any less of a parent. In my mind, asking for help is rooted in strength…inner strength!
Taking action and finding K a therapist was the best thing we could do at that point in time. The feelings of guilt and shame are completely gone now, and if we had to do it all over again, I would of course be a little stricter about tummy time, but I would take all the same steps if necessary.
If you’re struggling with something similar, 1. please know you’re not alone and 2. ask for and get whatever help you need.
And remember…if you have kids, it truly takes a village to raise them. A village full of love, kindness, and lots and lots of helpers!