Power dynamics and butt medicine.

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You know what you don’t anticipate when you become a parent? Having to hold the tip of your pinky finger in your child’s anus to hold a suppository in. All the while wondering if you are causing them permanent psychological damage because your finger is in their butt.

This was only our second experience, as obviously we try to, uh, manage things without resorting to this invasiveness, but this was an awful experience. We tried to be as respectful as possible – telling them exactly what was happening, how it would help, and asking for consent. TMD held them while I did the deed – the second very upset attempt, after the first was botched.

Yes, it is a required medical procedure. Maybe we sound nuts asking for consent.

But this is not my body. It belongs to someone else, and this isn’t just an awful time with oral steroids or antibiotics. It is much more personal and, you know, I’m not about to force myself onto a small child. If they hadn’t agreed, we would have tried something else.

Maybe this isn’t worthy of a blog post. Or maybe it is.

Either way, I encourage you to talk openly with your child about anything, particularly medical needs. A small child can understand a lot, especially with effective language. (‘This medicine makes the inside of your bum slippery, so the poop can slide right out – just like going down a waterside.’ Yes, really!) A child isn’t always going to jump with joy at nasty medicine, uncomfortable procedures, etc, but I hope these discussions and choices help give our children back some of their power and autonomy.

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2 Responses to “Power dynamics and butt medicine.”

  1. mamacrow Says:

    completely agree. thankfully we haven’t ever had to have the suppository experience, but scenarios in this house have included scrubbing dried poo off sore bottoms, removing splinters, taking off old plasters and, of course, vaccination injections.

    we’re always clear about what, how and why, and talk and discuss… As you say, this is perfectly possible even with very young children

  2. nobodysperfick Says:

    This is so important and I’m glad you’re writing about it. It really helps to build a culture of consent. 🙂

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