Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Parenting with An Illness

Taken weeks before the bite that lead to Lyme Disease last year.
Parenting is quite a task. You want your children to have the best in life. So what happens when the parent or both parents become very ill?

I was diagnosed with Lyme disease 10 months ago although my health started crashing a little over a year ago. My son had just turned 1. There were days when I didn't know how I was going to function yet take care of my son. Its one thing to be a parent but a whole other ballgame when you're a single parent.

There were moments when fear struck and I went to very dark places in my thoughts. Many days and nights I cried asking God to please heal me because I need to be there for my son. But every morning I was just trying to get out of bed in pain, fatigued, foggy, poor balance or whatever else struck me that day. But my son would look at me in his crib with those big brown eyes and he gave me the determination to get our day started. Even when he would cry out for me or when he was just simply giggling it gave me energy and hope.

When I reached out to other parents on the forum called The Healing Well I knew I was not alone. All of them like me had one thing on their mind and that was getting well for their children and spouses for those who are married. Whether they were/are bedridden, hospitalized or able to function but were still ill.

So what I did instead of thinking about a lot of dark thoughts was turn those into prayers and meditation. I won't lie there were challenging times when I wish my life was different and that I wasn't alone everyday with my son. But for some reason I believe that this illness is gonna make me so much stronger as a mother and a person. It's also preparing me for my future husband (whomever and where ever he is).

Dealing with an illness takes a lot of patience as well as raising a child. I've had to learn to grow my patience even more. Between waiting for my complete and total healing, numerous doctors appointments, maintaining my household and also raising my now two year old.

A few things I would like to tell other parents that are dealing with an illness is to try to remain positive, focus on other things besides your self such as your children, if you're married write down things you would like to do after you heal with your family and lastly don't be afraid to ask for help.
The last one was the toughest one for me. I was always so used to reaching out to my mother when I was in trouble but now that she is deceased I have to reach out to other family and even friends.

Also during this time I have become very close to quite a few single mothers who have tremendously stepped up and helped me out. We have created our own support group to lean on each other. They might not be physically ill but a few of them have some emotional stresses, financial challenges and we're there to really pray and support one another. There are also married couples who have embraced us and help us out, give advice, talk when needed and they are a glimmer of hope for me as well.

If you can reach out to other families like yourselves and whether its for help or you just want somebody to fellowship with it really does make a difference.

For those parents and loved ones who are not ill the one thing you can do for parents with illnesses is to reach out to them and ask them how can you be of service to them. Whether it is a phone call, a visit, even a letter goes really long way. I have a good friend in New York City who is like a sister to me and she got groceries sent to me because she knew I was low on cash and needed them. It meant so much to me to know how much people cared.

There is one parent on the forum I belong on who truly inspires me. Her kids are now grown but most of their childhood if not all of it she was very ill. She told parents on the forum that she was afraid that her kids would grow up to resent her. What she decided to do was home school her children. This effort took incredible strength and courage on her end. As they got older they told her how much they loved her and that they never resented her.

Also there is nothing like a kiss or a hug from your child or having them cuddle next to you when you're not feeling well. It's truly healing. My son plays a game with me. He will run into the bedroom and run under the covers and it's as if he is waiting for me to find him. Children are healing and beautiful angels sent from God and if you have a spouse please let them help you and also accept their love.

I will leave you with these few pointers that I found to be personally helpful:

  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • If you can move then do light workouts and have your family join you like yoga or stretches.
  • Do small activities with your kids like color, read a book to them OR they can read to you.
  • If you have older kids talk to them about their day and if they want to know how you are feeling tell them the truth. Teens want to know what's going on and are helpful.
  • If you can't attend school activities have someone record them or Skype.
  • Try to stay in a positive place're allowed to go to dark places at time (we are human) but don't stay there.
  • Fellowship with other parents. Invite them over...they can be helpful.
  • Write in a journal (things you want to do with your family once you're well, dreams and goals for your family).
  • Try to do some of your favorite things that don't require a lot of energy (I know it's me). I can't African dance yet but I can watch and get the energy.

I'm with you in this and light.

(This is part one of this article as I know some illnesses aren't temporary and are terminal, stay tuned for part two in the near future).


Trav said...

What a wonderful article! So inspiring and uplifting to those who may be ill. Children really can be so very healing with just a hug or a kiss, can't they?

Thank you!!

Trav said...

What a wonderful article! Thank you so much for reminding us how healing our children can be with just a hug or a giggle!

I know that you will find your healing as you have such a great attitude and a fighting spirit!