Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hard Parenting Decisions

For some time, I have been considering a small cosmetic procedure for Ava that would potentially make her life easier as she grows into a teen and then an adult. It’s not necessary for any medical reason, but I found out yesterday that it may be covered under healthcare and I should talk to our family doctor to find out whether Ava would be eligible for it.

This conversation bothered me immensely, because I don’t know how to even begin to discuss this with her. The first step would be to talk about it with the doctor, and maybe I’d have a clearer sense of direction after that discussion took place. I thought she was too young to even consider this, but I heard that a small child recently had the same surgery and it was fully covered under provincial healthcare, and his doctor suggested it be done before Grade 3.

We have raised her to this point to believe she is perfect as she is, and cosmetic surgery to correct a possible self-image problem in the future hurts me somewhere in a sensitive area of my heart. I would walk over hot coals for my daughter, I would throw myself in front of a train to save her, I would take on anyone who hurts her for any reason.

I hate that I have passed my ears along to her. I want her to pile her hair up on her head for graduation and her wedding, if she chooses to do so. I don’t want someone to make fun of her or call her names because her ears aren’t flush to her head, but neither do I want to put her through surgery just for a relatively small thing like this. I wonder if it’s better to raise her with as high of a self image as we can manage, and simply encourage her to believe that everyone has different ears, and it’s not better or worse to have them shaped a certain way.

Part of me knows that there isn’t a simple answer to this issue. Awhile ago I talked to someone who had the ear surgery in kindergarten, and she said she was grateful as an adult that her parents opted to do the procedure, and she didn’t remember anything painful about it.

This information helps a little, but I don’t want to have to decide this for Ava. If she’s a candidate for the surgery under healthcare, I suppose I’ll have to find a way to open this discussion with her in the gentlest of ways. Until that time, I’ll need to reconcile my mother guilt with what is truly the best thing for her, both now and as she grows up into a woman, and as parents we’ll make the decision together with our sweet and beautiful daughter.


  1. oh, that's tough. I'm assuming that you struggled with "friends" comments and were hurt as a child and that's why you think the same will happen to Ava. I totally get that! I feel super sensitive towards my own teeth and get fearful when my own children have even the slightest bit of crookedness. :( If it helps, I think Ava is absolutely beautiful and I've never noticed her ears! :) She may not even share the same history as you, though, and may not even be bothered by anyone else' words. It's hard to imagine things turning out differently for our own children though, isn't it, when they have the same "afflictions" as we do! Anyways, I just wanted to say that I understand and I hope that you find some peace and answers to this soon. {hugs}

  2. I have never noticed her ears! I can't believe heathcare covers that to be honest, but if they so I can see your dilemma. Has she ever said anything about her ears?

  3. Hmm, that is tough... the chance to save her from something you went through, but, as you say, it could be needless worry too. I guess with getting it done earlier its less likely to be a big deal.

  4. Thanks, ladies, for your kind comments. My ears stick out a little, but I was never teased about it or insecure about it, but Ava's are more prounounced than mine.

    It was something I was planning to ignore, as she has never said anything about it, but having this conversation about it with someone who had the surgery and was glad to have it, re-opened the discussion for us.

    I think I'll feel better after talking to the doctor, because if she's not a candidate for healthcare, then we'll keep going with pumping up her self image and hope she doesn't get teased or feel insecure about it as she grows.

    Thanks for the encouragement, friends!