Parenting is tough at the best of times, let alone when you get hit with a difficult-to-digest diagnosis. Whether that be postnatal depression, MS, or diabetes, your whole world will feel like it’s come crashing down. And, when it does, you may start to question your parenting ability.
The thing to remember is that there’s no easy path here. Like it or not, any diagnosis imposes certain restrictions and boundaries on your parenting life. To make sure they don’t also limit your kids, keep reading to find out how you can be the best parent possible regardless.
Explain the situation to your children
Explaining a difficult diagnosis to a child is never easy, but it is essential. Obviously, you’ll want to protect them from many of the details, but outlining the basic is vital. As much as you’d like to keep up energetic play, your health simply won’t allow you to do that. Equally, depression may see you struggling even to crack a smile for your youngsters. Failure to explain will confuse your kids no end. It will also increase the pressure to act like nothing has happened. Instead, be open about how your diagnosis is liable to impact your health. This way, your kids will accept you as you are without expecting more than you’re able to give them.
Find your own outlets
As much as talking to your kids can help, you’ll also find it useful to seek your own outlets to help you cope with your condition. This way, you’ll be able to recharge your batteries and focus your full attention on your kids when you’re with them. Counsellors are fantastic, as are support groups. If you don’t have time to get to things like these, even online forums offer a vast support network. Turning to sites like Shift MS in light of an MS diagnosis could help you through, while postnatal forums like those found on Mumsnet can be a huge help. These can each provide a much-needed support network, as well as giving you advice on how to feel your best when your kids are at home.
Accept when you need a break
All parents need a break, and this is especially vital in light of a difficult diagnosis. Both mental and physical conditions can drain your energy like little else, and that’s obviously a bad mix with energetic children. Worse, trying to push through when you need a break could increase your symptoms and lead to longer recovery times. By comparison, accepting when you need a bubble bath and an early night could see you doing your parenting best the next day. In these instances, turning to your partner or even other family members to take the kids off your hands is always the best thing for it.
No one said that parenting through a diagnosis would be easy, but it’s by no means an impossible task. All you need to do is work out how you can be the best parent possible, regardless.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.