How Important Is A Good Family GP?
The majority of people will have a GP doctor. They will more than likely have a practice that is in or close to the place that you live and you may even be on a first name basis with the various staff members of that clinic.
They may have treated your own parents and extended family members and therefore have a deep understanding of your family’s history in terms of health and wellbeing. Having a good family GP is important for a lot of reasons but it becomes even more important when you have children yourself.
I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve not been at the GP very much other than in a pregnancy capacity. When I fell pregnant with my son I realised the pivotal role that a GP can play in your life. Mine was the very first person to know about my pregnancy and that even includes myself.
I went to the GP with what I thought was a horrific bug and left with a baby. I’ll never as long as I live forget the way she told me the news. I was in complete and utter shock laughing one minute and crying the next. She was unbelievably supportive, helpful and sympathetic to my situation.
I wanted this baby but I had no idea that the news of it would bring such a myriad of emotions. She reassured me that it was completely normal and I’ll never really forget that experience. It’s just a day at the office for her but to me it was a shared experience that will stay with me for my entire life. The day I became a mother.
Having a good family GP while pregnant is so important. Pregnancy can be such a vulnerable time and having someone to advocate for you can make such a difference. For a lot of people, their family GP is their greatest cheerleader. They are genuinely invested in their patients and want their experience and care to be empowering and positive.
When my son was born I changed GP because we moved to a different town and the new GP went on to be my greatest support in terms of breastfeeding. She was a GP but, more importantly, she too was a breastfeeding mother. I felt so comfortable talking to her and really listened to her advice and tips. I’ll never be able to thank her enough for that because for me it made all the difference.
When it comes to your postnatal care and the care of your babies a good family GP is more important than ever. Your postnatal care is perhaps more important than your prenatal care. When your baby comes along you are extremely vulnerable, learning on the job and healing physically and emotionally from the earth-shaking experience of giving birth.
A good GP will ensure that no stone remains unturned. They will know you well enough to ask the questions that you simply need someone to ask. They will be invested in your physical and emotional health and that is more important than anything. If you find yourself experiencing postnatal depression a good GP will be sympathetic, pro-active and a source of support and help. Having access to that kind of person and service is imperative to get through such a difficult time.
I’ve heard mums and dads talk about the fact that their GP picked up on a certain illness or issue in one of their children simply by being around them. I’ve heard things like “the GP asked was everything OK with my little man because he would never usually be that pale or quiet”. A good GP knows their patients and cares for them on a deep level. They will fight for their patients to ensure that within their power everything is done so that they can access the referrals, services and care that they require.
A good GP will offer honest advice and support to all family members. They won’t make you feel like a burden. Whether they’re administering a vaccination, performing a smear or handing you a tissue as you sob uncontrollably there is no denying the huge role that they play in the life of a family.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.