New Dad Douglas Kennedy's Battle With Maternity Nurses Is a Win for Parents Everywhere

hospitalMark this one on the calendars, y'all. Today I feel "as one" with a Kennedy! Douglas Kennedy, to be exact, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy. He was acquitted this week of child endangerment and harassment charges all stemming from an incident in a hospital with his own baby. It's a win for the tragic Kennedy clan, but it's more than that. Douglas Kennedy's acquittal is a win for parents everywhere.

It's all there in black and white. Sometimes a parent knows best. And to heck with the medical community.


In case you're not familiar with the case, here's the skinny: the new daddy wanted to take his son, Anthony Boru Kennedy, outside the hospital for "fresh air." Nurses at Northern Westchester Hospital decided the 2-day-old wasn't ready for that, and they claimed Douglas assaulted them as they tried to block him from taking his own son outside.

The court has decided Kennedy didn't assault the nurses. But even bigger here is the fact that they found absolutely no reason why he couldn't take his own child out of the hospital.

Moms? Dads? Take heed. Just because you're new at this whole parenting thing doesn't mean you need to be bullied by the staff on the maternity ward.

I have several friends who work as maternity nurses and are fabulous at their jobs. They are reasonable folks who only want the best for moms and babies.

But there is always that one nurse on the floor who seems to be on a constant power trip. On parenting boards you'll see them referred to as Nazi Nurse or Nurse Ratched. And it's hard as a new parent to know whether you have the right to stick up for yourself.

I remember being reamed by a nurse of this type the day after my daughter was born. I'd removed her swaddle in an attempt to wake her up, and the nurse barged into the (temperature controlled) room to inform me that my baby was going to freeze to death. Ironically, this happened shortly after another nurse scolded me for letting her sleep instead of waking her up to feed her every two hours (something I've since been told by several medical professionals was not actually a problem ... it's normal for babies to sleep after the trauma of birth, and she was not in any danger of malnutrition). Another time I tangled with a nurse who insisted that a pacifier was not going to harm my baby despite everything I'd read about it making it more difficult to breastfeed.

Each time, I caved. Because who was I to challenge medical practitioners, people who "knew" what they were doing? Now I know that they were wrong, and like Douglas Kennedy, I should have trusted my instincts as a parent.

Seeing Kennedy win out over these nurses, I can't help hoping that some other parents take heed, that this empowers new moms and dads to take the helm on their baby's care. No, we aren't hospital staff. But we are these kids' parents. That counts for something.

Did you butt heads with the hospital staff after your baby was born?


Image via _Fidelio_/Flickr

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