Important Message for Parents of Children With A Chronic Condition

Pay attention to your own needs - self care is a necessity not an option

Pay attention to your own needs - self care is a necessity not an option

Do you think of the needs of your child before you think about yourself? Do you find it hard to make time for what is important to you? Do you find yourself being grumpy more that you want to be?

My friend told me about a dream she had. It struck me that this story contained a universal message for each of us. With my friends permission I would like to share it with you.

In my dream I have a beautiful beautiful baby and I’ve been very busy
working and caring for family. One day I pick up my baby and it is floppy
in my arms. I realise that my baby is nearly dead. I feel so guilty and
ashamed because in my busyness I’d forgotten to feed my beautiful child. My
baby does not cry or complain, it is passive about its own needs. My baby is
not dead – it can be fed and revived. If the child had cried, fussed or
yelled about its needs, it would have a better chance of survival. A wise
woman told me the child in my dream is me. I now understand that if I get
too busy to nurture and care for myself, I will quietly die.

All parents are busy. If your child requires doctors visits and physiotherapy you will be very busy. Your concern about your child might drive you to even greater heights of activity. People sometimes even say – it helps if I keep myself busy.

The problem is that we might not consider our own needs as a priority in all that activity. We might not even know what our needs are.

Some parents might be able to get away with putting themselves last. Parents of children with a chronic condition just cannot afford to.

We have to schedule time to refresh our spirit in whatever way works best for us.

As the airline staff tell you, “Put your own oxygen mask on first, then assist your child.”

I am not saying this is an easy thing to do. I think it is particularly difficult if your own parents did not model doing things just for themselves.

You might experience feelings of guilt, selfishness or anxiety. Notice those feelings and make attending to your own needs a priority anyway.

As the dream so elegantly tells us – on some level getting this right is a matter of life or death.

Photo courtesy of kudumomo at Flickr Creative Commons.

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