In October of last year, Samantha Carrier of Birmingham, England received devastating news: her baby daughter Daisy had cystic fibrosis. She has now shared a video on Facebook of the therapy treatment Daisy receives daily — which involves slapping her chest to break up mucus — in an effort to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis. And yet sadly, the new mom is already receiving widespread criticism for it.
According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, CF is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. More than 30,000 people in the U.S. live with this disease — a disease that usually claims the lives of its victims by age 40.
Despite these alarming statistics, medical advancements for CF have come quite far, with diagnoses usually occurring by age 2. This means parents can begin treating the condition from infancy. One of the most common symptoms of cystic fibrosis is mucus build-up in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. As a result, a form of treatment for babies is to slap their chest several times per day for a period of up to 25 minutes each time.
This therapy is exactly what Sam Carrier recorded and shared with the world earlier this week, in the hopes of educating others about this painful and life-threatening condition that plagues her daughter. The video depicts five consecutive minutes of her slapping her baby girl’s chest every 1-2 seconds.
The “hits” are not hard, but not gentle either. And that’s precisely the objective — since the point is to break up the substance that collects bacteria and prevents proper breathing, the hits need to be hard enough to do just that.
As Carrier shared on Facebook:
“I realize this is shocking if you don’t realize why [it’s happening]. But trust me its not as shocking for [you] as it is for us CF moms/dads who are told when our babies are two-and-a-half weeks old that we need to do this to our child to try prevent lung damage. The point of this video is just a little insight into what physiotherapy is for a baby with cystic fibrosis.”
Although the baby seems content in the video and even falls back asleep during the therapy, her mom received quite a bit of criticism for “abusing” her child. However, as is usually the case in parental judgment, those who accused her of harm had little knowledge of what cystic fibrosis actually is, or how to treat it.
In defense of this form of therapy, a spokeswoman for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust told the Huffington Post: “Chest clapping is a form of physiotherapy for young children with cystic fibrosis. It helps clear the sticky-mucus which builds up in the lungs as a result of the condition.”
Carrier is clearly a loving and devoted mother doing all she can for Daisy. On her Just Giving Fundraising page, she describes Daisy’s day to day life:
“Daisy has to have prebiotics twice a day. Salt replacement twice a day. Vitamin E once a day and multivitamins once a day. Before every feed she has to have an enzyme to help her break down the fat and absorb it from her food. She has to have physiotherapy twice a day. Every week she is being weighed. Every other week she is seen by the cystic fibrosis team at home and once a month we have to go to the hospital to meet with the consultant nurses, dietician and physiotherapist to see how she is progressing.”
And in response to the haters, Carrier tells Babble: “I don’t let them get to me. They spur me on to continue as they are the reason cystic fibrosis needs more awareness.”
She also says she was properly trained by hospital staff and does not hurt her child with this treatment — which the video clearly supports, as Daisy is clearly not in pain.
So, those of us who haven’t faced the devastating news that our child’s life will be likely cut short by an incurable condition —and been told that the years they do have will be plagued with difficulties breathing and organ failure — should maybe hang up our parenting police badges and keep our judgments to ourselves.
And to Carrier, we should all have only this to say: Good job, mama. Little Daisy is fortunate to have such a dedicated mother.
If you’d like to donate to Carrier’s Just Giving page which is currently raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, you can do so here.More On