To the Nurse Telling Me to 'Prioritize' Taking My Son to a Playgroup


“Have you taken him out to a playgroup yet?” It’s the same question I’ve been asked at the last three child health checks for my son.

baby boy crawling on the floor and smiling

“No, it’s been really busy.” I drop my eyes to the floor as I get the same look from the nurse again. Only this time there is a comment, too: “You need to make time for him to socialize. Prioritize it.” I try to explain that I have regular playdates with other mums and babies but I’ve already been dismissed by the nurse. We move on to the developmental check and that leads to a referral to yet another specialist for my medically complex 7-month-old. Of course that right there is part of why we never make it to a playgroup. What I want to say to the nurse is this:

I’m the mum who is trying to juggle multiple medical and specialist appointments for my son.

I’m the mum who is sitting with my son doing exercises over and over again so he can catch up on his milestones.

I’m the mum who was all ready to go to playgroup last week but my son needed to sleep more than he needed to socialize.

I’m the mum who is doing her best to manage her rheumatoid arthritis so it doesn’t flare again.

I’m the mum who was diagnosed with cancer six weeks after her son was born.

I’m the mum who had surgery yesterday to remove three new abdominal tumors and still made it to her son’s appointment this morning.

I’m the mum who is in tears because she needs to prioritize lying down rather than taking her son out to playgroup today because she is so exhausted and in so much pain.

I’m the mum who is just trying to survive so that my son will still have a mum.

baby boy playing with toys and smiling

Perhaps though it really all comes down to the same thing – I’m the mum who wishes playgroup could be the highest priority on her list.

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