HERstory: Traci Braxton on Parenting Son with JRA
Traci Braxton is one of the stars of the hit WeTV reality show, Braxton Family Values, a recording artist with her debut project, “Crash & Burn,” a radio host, a community activist, a dedicated wife and a nurturing mother. In other words, she is a Sexy Mom who ROCKS! She is even more dynamic because she did and does it all while tending to a son and husband with arthritis. She spoke with me about being a mother of a child with health challenges.
Denise: How did you find out Kevin Jr. had JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis)?
Traci: When he was 7 years old he kept having this muscular pain and kept saying he felt like his joints were out of socket and he had fevers and sores in his mouth. The doctor told us to take him to Children’s Hospital and I will never forget the day they took him to the hematologist and said his blood count was low. My uncle had cancer and my cousin too so I was freaking out from that. They did more tests and told me he had JRA and I said, “Ok God, I will take that.” When he was young I would have to put him in a bath and rub him down with alcohol and just rub him and rub him to make him feel better. I had to learn how to change his diet. I had problem with the school because he had to get up and walk around and they wouldn’t let him. They didn’t want him to have candy for his dry mouth or anything to drink or anything.
Denise: Did that have something to do with your decision to homeschool him?
Traci: Every year we would try school but everytime the weather would change around November, he missed too many days. They wouldn’t make any accommodations. I had to involve lawyers and the school board. I even got into it with one of his teachers who put her hands on him and told him to sit down.
Traci: Honey, yes. So he made it into high school but then he was home schooled.
Denise: How do you balance taking care of your husband’s needs while taking care of a child with health needs and being a working professional woman?
Traci: I just had to make sure I would give my husband some. Hahaha! I gotta make sure he is dehydrated before I leave and take care of my son when I am there. My husband takes care of him when I am not there. But my husband has arthritis too so he knows how to take care of our son. We both make sure he is not stressed and eats the right food. Plus lil Kev is old enough now that he takes himself to his doctors appointment.
Denise: What can you tell mothers who are challenged with a child with health issues?
Traci: Make sure you take them to the doctor regularly and listen to your child because people don’t always listen to their children when they are sick. They just tell them to lay down and give them an aspirin; especially black folks. But as a mom you have to make sure you get plenty of rest and take care of yourself because the child is going to keep you up all night sometimes. When they rest you rest just like when they were an infant.
Traci also believes in a strong support system. Family is a big part of her life, both immediate and extended, and helps during the challenging times so she is not overwhelmed. Make sure you seek out help from family, friends, and support groups. Enjoy Traci Braxton and her family in Braxton Family Values Thursday nights on WeTV.