6 Parenting Tips for Moms Undergoing Treatment
Being a mom is hard, but being a mom undergoing cancer treatment is even harder. As a parent and a patient, moms with cancer have to go through so much more than many can imagine. While juggling your own health and the well-being of your family may be difficult, however, it’s not impossible - just ask the moms at MAMCF.
The Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation supports young mothers who everyday choose to care for their families while also fighting cancer. It’s a tough decision, but their inspirational stories of love, community, and support show that parenting while experiencing the ups and downs of treatment is not impossible - and can, in fact, be rewarding.
MAMCF’s Executive Program Director Olivia Yance talked to a few of the moms that MAMCF supports and gave us some great tips for any mom carrying both her identity as a parent and the challenge of treatment. These tips show that your fight is not in vain, and that your courage is supported by many others who have gone through the same thing.
1.Give yourself permission to not be ok. In other words, go easy on yourself. Give yourself a break and allow some downtime, if possible, and know that it’s okay. It's hard, but important.
This first tip gets to an important point: you need to take care of yourself and your mental health. Parenting and treatment are both challenges, so take time to breathe, relax, and enjoy an activity that helps you feel more at ease. Whether it’s watching an episode of your favorite show, snuggling with someone close to you, or even just taking a moment of stillness in the car, it’s important to give yourself a break - as a parent and a patient undergoing treatment, you deserve it.
2. Remember that kids are resilient.
Concern about your children may be the most common element of parenthood, but try not to worry yourself into unnecessary anxiety. While children may be newer to the world of treatment than we are, they have an innocence that reminds us that they can be brave too.
Show your children true strength through your own hope and courage, and they’re sure to show it right back to you.
3. It's important not to burden our children with too much information. Answer their questions as truthfully and as positively as possible.
Withholding information might make children anxious while giving too much might overwhelm them. Children don’t have to know every aspect of your treatment, but it is important to be
honest with them. If they ask about a procedure or a diagnosis, give them enough information to ease their curiosity.
As a parent, it’s important to be open with your children. Each child is different, so let your parental love guide how you speak to your kids.
4. Accept help if it is offered. People want to feel needed and helpful.
It’s easy to feel alone as a parent and during your treatment. The pressure of your situation may be overwhelming. When that happens, take a look at your support system - whether it’s with your family, your friends, or an organization like MAMCF, there will always be someone there to give you strength when you feel alone.
It’s never shameful to accept help. Support is necessary and available for any mother who might feel alone in this time. Many people offer assistance not only to be of help, but also to give themselves a chance to provide. Accept the help given to you - it’ll put both you and the helper at ease.
5. Take baby steps. Take one day at a time and try not to look too far ahead.
Parenting and treatment involve a lot of planning, but at the end of the day both processes take time. Enjoy the day by day, and don’t forget to welcome the here and now.
6. Having a positive attitude is key. You can look your worst but when they hear you speak in a positive way, they will remember that the most.
Parenting and treatment are both challenging, but can also both be life-changing gifts. Having words, thoughts, and actions that show your positivity despite your situation will demonstrate to your children - and to everyone around you - what real bravery can be.
We applaud every mother out there who balances both parenthood and treatment. Neither are easy, but the many moms who navigate between both every day show us what courage, strength, and hope really look like.
Article by: Emmabel Tami Orendain, Editor in Chief at Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation and Olivia Yance, Program Director at Mommy and Me Cancer Foundation