How Much To Tell People

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by iloveturtles, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. iloveturtles

    iloveturtles Guest

    Not sure where to post this, Maybe should have been in the Special Education section.

    How much do you tell people about your child's pregnancy and first years at the school or school district? I have something I haven't told them.

    His doctors and therapist know about it, but I haven't told the school.

    For a few reasons, I don't want to be judged, and I don't want him written off because of it.

    I haven't seen anyone else on this board own up to this, and I am afraid to even have said as much as I have.:anxious:

    It was a different time in my life, and I deeply regret it.

    The other thing is what his doctors and everyone has said about it, is that there is no harm done from this. Which I don't believe at all!

    I am hoping I don't get slammed.

    I need help on helping my son. If I am the cause, which I am sure I am. I just need to help him.
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As a teacher I always appreciate knowing as much as possible so I can work hard to help students. That being said I do understand your concern. It would be great to think that no teacher would pass judgment but unfortunately there are some that might. If there worth their salt as a teacher they won't but as in every profession there are a few bad apples.

    Do you have teachers you trust and really believe have your child's best interest at heart? If so, and you think it might help them to know the information, then I would tell. If not then I wouldn't.

    I'm sure it's a hard decision to make. by the way, no slamming done here, this really is a soft place to be.

  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    People here have owned up to various things, including drinking and drug-taking during pregnancy.

    Me - I'm a fairly clean-living, straight kind of person, but I still have deep guilt feelings because when I was pregnant with the boys, I was put on salbutamol tablets to stop me going into labour. I had similar problems with easy child 2/difficult child 2 but that was constrolled entirely by a different prostaglandin inhibitor. But the salbutamol dosage I was on when pregnant with difficult child 3 was double the dose of his brother. And difficult child 3's autism is a lot worse than difficult child 1's. I have asked and been told no, it wasn't a factor, but I still wonder and can't help blaming myself.
    The doctor I saw for difficult child 3 was not the one I'd had for my first three pregnancies. My first doctor was lovely, kind and very meticulous. The last one was not, and I felt let me down badly in the delivery room (and in other ways during the pregnancy, I worked out later). He contributed significantly to my PTSD.

    Something I'm fairly secretive about, is my long-term use of very strong painkillers. They are prescibed via a palliative care centre, a lot of the other patients are terminal cancer patients. I did check, very carefully, that my medication use during pregnancy was not a problem. It's ironic, but the opiates I take actually do less damage to my body than any of the suggested alternatives. I also was able to cut them right back for most of the last pregnancy (there is an autoimmune component to this and the baby's immune system in utero damped down my own immune attack on my body, reducing my pain to the point where I could stop all opiates for six months); I was back on them as soon as difficult child 3 was born.

    But in the hospital after difficult child 3 was born, the staff (apart from my specialist) treated me like a drug-seeking addict. My medications were ordered in the charts but te nursing staff would "forget" to get them for me and eventually told me they had "lost the key to the drugs cupboard" which, since we had post-surgery patients on the ward, was a total lie. So I produced my own supply husband brought from home (with prescribed labels). They told me I should hand them over. "Where are you going to store them?" I asked. "You've lost the key to the drugs cupboard."

    In the end, I took my own medications but told the nursing staff so they could chart it. It shouldn't have had to happen that way, but my point is - people WILL judge. But you have to make a decision - what is most important here? Your own image, or the help your child needs?

    If you are concerned that your child will somehow NOT get the help he needs because of people's judgement about you, then I agree with your reticence. But if you are fairly sure that while people might thinnk badly of you, they will be able to use the information for your son's benefit - then I would put aside any concerns for your own reputation. Besides, people these days are far less judgemental.

    In my case, if I tried to explain this sort of detail it either was misunderstood or I was patted on the shoulder and told to stop obsessing about it. Because of my own physical disability, people make erroneous connections betwwen my ptoblems and the kids' problems. They assume my mind is as distorted and damaged as my body and that this explains the kids being "different".

    I can't hide my disability. Not past a certain point. So as for disclosure, I haven't got a lot of choice.

    What I've done - I developed a sort of shorthand, a way of coping quickly with comments and questions and also a way to quickly inform what has to be informed. "My disability happened some years ago, it resembles MS and has no relevance to difficult child 3's autism. The two conditions are entirely separate. I was not born with this. difficult child 3 was born with his autism."

    As far as your choice or otherwise to disclose - you could be ambiguous and say something like, "difficult child's birth mother had the following pregnancy history." You could also ask for this to be kept confidential because difficult child is nnot to be told about this, you want it kept confidential for difficult child's sake. My sister adopted two kids and made the choice to not tell them they were adopted (it was considered an acceptable option back then). She planned to tell the kids when she felt they could handle it, because their beginnings with bio-parents were very rough, they had been fostered to begin with after being abused in infancy.

    Where you can, though, use the truth. It is the best option, always. it is your choice how much truth to reveal, ranging from none, to all.

    In my case - the only people who know about my opiate use is my medical team and my pharmacist. And immediate family only. Not even all of them. One best friend knows a little. The others know nothing, other than one less-strong medication also on my list. I chose to do it this way because I once confided in someone I thought was a friend, who then when he disagreed with a decision I made, told everyone he knew that of course I would make such a wrong decision because everybody knows that drug addicts are unstable and with the medications I was "hooked on" (which he listed) that my mental imbalance was a foregone conclusion.

    I agree, you need to protect yourself from this kind of eventuality.

    If you tell someone professionally what they need to know as part of their job, and also make it clear that the information is privileged and not to be shared, then you have grounds for action if it gets out.

    Again, to reiterate - your primary concern here is your son. What is in his best interest? How can you ensure his needs are met?

    What about asking a doctor's opinion, on whether the value of you divulging this information would outweigh any possible disadvantages? And if they have any ideas on an appropriate, sensitive way to handle this?

    I know my experience is not yours. I was using medications because I had no alternatives. If you use substances you now recognise you shouldn't have, and you feel your child is damaged as a result, there are a number of factors here.

    First, as parents we often feel far more guilt than we should. Some mothers drink during pregnancy. Some take drugs during pregnancy. Some fathers have been users of various cytotoxic/mutagenic drugs in their earlier days and this has the potential to have lifelong impact.

    The thing is - you may have done things like this, or not. Your child's difficult child-ness may be connected to this, or it may not. I've known women who drank to excess during pregnancy (including some who were drinking before they realised they were pregnant). They had normal babies. No Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). I've heard of others who fastidiously avoided all alcohol after they found they were pregnant - but they'd had three or four drinks one night about the time their period was due. And that was enough to do the damage. Or they had rubella during pregnancy and because it's such a mild illness tey didn't realise it until after their deformed baby as born and their rubella titre belatedly measured.

    Things can go wrong for all sorts of reasons. Did you change the kitty litter when pregnant? You could have contracted toxoplasmosis which can cause major problems in the baby. Listeria. Gastroenteritis. Anything that gives the pregnant woman a high fever. A choice to continue to take medications because NOT taking the medications would be a bigger problem (as in epilepsy, for example). A pregnant woman with an over-active thyroid.

    All these things MIGHT lead to problems in the baby, of varying degrees of severity. Or you could be lucky.

    Not every woman who took thalidomide during pregnancy, had a baby with phocomelia.

    So tihnk about it. Think about your reasons for not wanting to say anything. Think about how it could be received and if you feel your child could be helped in spite of this. Ask your doctor for advice, then make your decision.

  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    If the doctor says there is no impact, chances of getting a teacher to think there was is slim. I always err on the side of caution. Once you tell someone, you can't unring that bell.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    It is what it is. The doctors need to know so they can diagnosis accurately and recomend appropriate interventions. The school needs to know what the diagnosis is and the ensuing issues, but the school really doesn't need to know what (if anything) caused the diagnosis or the ensuing issues. The school simply needs to know what interventions to take to help your son. Period. End of story.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I smoked cigarettes all through all my pregnancies. No one then told me it could harm the fetus except it may cause them to be smaller. Well it didnt do that at all for me. Who knows if it contributed to their problems.

    With my youngest son I had pneumonia when I got pregnant with him and didnt realize it. I had another period after I got pregnant. I was taking strong narcotic cough syrup and had two rounds of chest xrays. My doctors really advocated that I abort my son. I didnt. My son was born with some physical disabilities and of course, the bipolar and later diagnosis'd personality disorder-not otherwise specified.

    Did the narcotic cough syrup and chest xrays cause his problems? Dont know. I think the chest xrays caused his physical disabilities but I dont think anything caused his bipolar except for my bad genes. I have it, my mom had something and my grandma had something.

    I have always told his doctors the above info and they never said anything. Now I would never tell the schools this info. Not their business. They dont need to know what happened while he was in utero.
  7. iloveturtles

    iloveturtles Guest

    Thank you all for your input.

    I was doing some looking around on the internet last night about Neuropsychologists. One of the reasons they gave for doing evaluations/assessments on children is for drug exposure when during pregnancy. I used meth while pregnant, but I did not drink or anything else. Not for anything other than it would interfere with the meth. Completely selfish at the time.

    I had 30 days clean when my son was born. So he was clean when he was born. I did let his doctors know during my pregnancy and they did higher level ultrasounds to check out his organs and such. Everything appeared fine.

    I have a hard time believing the docs who now say there is nothing to worry about. I tell all of them. I know how it felt during my pregnancy when I would use, and you can't tell me that didn't affect him some how.

    I think I will call the his pediatrician doctor, and ask about a neuropsychologist.

    Thank you for your responses. I am going to continue on as I have been, and letting doctors know, but not the school.

    I don't want it in his student file.
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    This truly is a soft place to land, and no one here will judge you for choices you did or didn't make.

    If it makes you feel any better at all, I think you're handling it just right with the doctors and the school. And I think having a neuropsychologist evaluation of your difficult child will get you the answers you need about his strengths and challenges.

    Hang in there and keep posting. We're here for you.
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I always figure we have the best parents out there - after all we all went looking for help for our kids - right? How could we be bad parents?

    Yes, we all make mistakes while we are growing up. Meth while pregnant, bad. Not worse than beating your child, right?! There are a myriad of things I could list here.

    The point is you are a good mom. You really need to deal with the guilt you are feeling. I mean really. As a priority! That means now! LOL!

    by the way - I would not reveal that to the school either. There is no reason to.
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    No one will judge you here. And quite honestly this kind of thing happens so often now, they may not even raise an eyebrow!

    I have a niece who just had her second baby and she used drugs during both pregnancies, although she's doing fine now and living back at home with her parents. Her three year old's teeth were affected by her drug use and he had to have caps put on his baby teeth before he even turned two. The caps are now coming off and he will have to have it all redone, and they are assuming that the baby will have the same problems when all his teeth come in. The children's dentist that she takes the three year old too has seen so much of this that almost his whole practice is treating the children who have problems because of their mothers' drug use.

    So please don't think you're the only one. Yes, you made some bad choices in the past, but the important thing is what you're doing now and you're doing all you can to get him the help that he needs. And as far as the schools go, none of their business! Their job is to deal with them now, not have their entire history going back to conception!
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh honey...dont be so hard on yourself. Many people have fallen into the grasp of drug abuse. It happens. But look at you. You are in recovery and are taking care of your kids! That is wonderful. What an accomplishment.

    We could all kick ourselves for things we have done. Is it my fault my son has a personality disorder? Many psychologists and psychiatrists would probably say so because they tend to blame personality disorders on a persons childhood. I know we are convinced my personality disorder stems from my horribly abusive childhood. So I have to think really hard about what kind of parent I was and see if I can accept any of the blame. I probably can but I know I did the best I could back then and when I knew better, I tried to do better. I didnt always succeed but who can? Im not a saint. I failed miserably at times. In the end, my sons behaviors are on him just like my behaviors are on me.

    You are a good mom doing her very best with what you know.
  12. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Yes if only we could all be perfect. Please work on the guilt, something most of us can relate to in some form.

    Like others have said, this is such a huge step and you have come so far.
    Little steps each day.
    I would not tell the School either.
    Heck I had heroin sperm make me! I don't know if that can affect a babies growth or not??? But mentally he was messed up!
    hang in there we are here to listen
  13. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    I am a teacher, also involved in the special education process from the standpoint of a parent. In my personal opinion, many of the questions asked about the pregnancy and early years are in the "none of their business" category and have absolutely no bearing on the appropriate course of action in educating your child. Teachers simply operate based on the current skill levels and the learning style of the child. Even in the early intervention process for my younger child (language impairment), as I would ask questions of the therapists regarding "what is this" and "what caused this," their very sensible responses were that it really did not matter as to the course of action that needed to be taken.

    I have never seen anything inappropriate happen regarding confidential information at my own school, but I know it does happen in other places. "There is no such thing as a confidential file" is a very important line I have always remembered from one of the many books I have read. That file could eventually land anywhere in the course of your child's lifetime, and personally, I would try to keep the information in it limited to information that is truly relevant and helpful to the educational process.
  14. iloveturtles

    iloveturtles Guest

    Thank you all for your responses.

    I am working on the guilt. Just some days are better than others.

    Like for example, today it doesn't really matter to me the why of it all. It is what it is. I am working on this with my therapist, and with my sons.

    They both do EMDR, and I have been working on his "story". Which involves facing the choices I made, and how they have affected him.

    I am all that he has, and I do the best he can.

    What is done, is done.