Coping Strategies – Cancer When You Have Children

I was recently emailed by a lady asking if I had any specific coping strategies that I could share for attempting to fight cancer and be a present parent for your child, that you want to be the best mum ever for?

It really got me thinking.  I don’t know if you can fight cancer and be an ever-present, best mum – well I mean, I’m sure you are the best, but maybe not in the all-encompassing way you envisioned.  It’s hard, there are no two ways about it.  I had such a clear idea what I thought motherhood was going to be and cancer was robbing me of it.

I’m not sure that I did cope, it was a constant and evolving situation and you just keep trying.  But, here are a few things that I learnt along the way.

Keep things in perspective.

When I used to get upset about not being with the children for certain things, my husband used to say  “the kids don’t care if you are there the first time they roll over or whatever, they care if you are there on their first day of school or get married, but even if you miss those… They only really care if you are alive.”  I used to try to keep that in mind when I felt I was missing out because it’s so true.

Getting to be at home with my baby girl
Getting to be at home with my baby girl

Carve out some special time.

When I was having chemotherapy or was bed bound, I used to get the children in to my bed and read them their bed time story.  Or go and snuggle up with them on the sofa whilst they had TV time.

Little one’s love routine so if there is one part of the day, no matter how tiny, that they can know you will be involved in, I think it works quite well.

Bonds are built on more than time.

The bond with my daughter was something I worried about as she was only three months old when I was diagnosed.  When you are pregnant you are told about all these things you have to do with your baby, otherwise you are basically stamping all over their childhood and any chance of you bonding with each other, but it’s not true.  My daughter and I have a wonderful bond.  We love each other eternally and no amount of being in hospital and chemotherapy has changed any of that.

Plus you are going through their childhood with a determination to live for them that most other parents will never experience.  So don’t panic if you aren’t around as much as you planned because your bond will still be the same.

Give Yourself a Break

It’s not much I know, but hopefully it will help.  Most importantly, give yourself a break and just enjoy all the moments that you can.

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6 thoughts on “Coping Strategies – Cancer When You Have Children

  1. Your point of view is right on target! Thoughtful perspective on motherhood with or without cancer. You and your husband must be an excellent team!


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