How do you know what you don’t know?

When a couple experiences pregnancy for the first time, they turn to books, the internet, friends, and their medical professionals. Very often, it is difficult to get to our doctors, given the current situation of the pandemic, coupled with the inaccessibility and shortage of doctors.

When couples get pregnant, they hope – and expect – that everything will be okay; from the pregnancy to birth, and early development.

But what happens when it isn’t all “normal” or easy?

A Personal Story

Itsik Romano, a father of six, recounts what happened when their fourth child was diagnosed with a problem completely out of their realm of knowledge.

“When our fourth son (now six years old) was young, he was diagnosed with speech and language issues. We invested in speech therapy for him for two years. When he was five years old, we noticed his food intake was not the same as that of his older brothers when they were his age; moreover, he complained that his teeth hurt, and that was why he didn’t want to eat like a regual boy his age.

We called our dentist, who diagnosed him with a condition called tongue tie. We had never heard of it.”

It is a condition in which the cartilage connecting the tongue to the lower part of the mouth is too short. This is important because the issues it causes include:

  • Speech and language
  • Malnutrition due to loss of appetite
  • Poor dental hygiene (as the mouth does not properly cleanse itself), leading to cavities

“At the age of six, without having yet lost a baby tooth naturally, our son underwent oral surgery under sedation, to correct his issues. Four teeth pulled, four root canals, and eight cavities.

“Was it ever something we looked up online? Not having been aware this existed, we could not have predicted it, or spared our child the consequences of a late diagnosis.

“As parents, we feel cheated for not having been aware of this, and we feel badly that we could not provide our child with proper protection.

“Today when you google ‘when do I need to bring my child to the dentist for the first time,’ the answer given is to visit the dentist after the appearance of the first tooth.”

Despite having three children already, the Romanos were suddenly faced with a new challenge; without warning or previous knowledge, they had to navigate these new waters, seemingly alone in their quest to help their child.

Romano’s story is not the only one to be told. Parents always have questions, even if problems are not serious. However, how do you know, as a parent, if it is serious? How do you know when to contact a professional? How do you know what you don’t know?

And which professionals are available to see? Should you see a doctor? What kind of doctor? What kind of referrals do you need? Are there other options? “Will an internet site give me the answers I need?”

Those questions – and more – are the reason Romano with the help of a networking colleague, Magalie Seabrooke, have organized PAMtalks