5 Tips for Parents that Help Children Get Through Chronic Illness
Guest Blog Mindy Wilson
Who is Mindy?
Hi, my name is Mindy Wilson. I am an author, inspirational speaker, educator, and mom to three resilient children. I started journaling as a way to express, cope and heal from my trials and later realized I had stories in me that had the potential to help others.
The days are still fresh in my mind when sitting in the doctor’s office, and a specialist at Primary Children’s Hospital tested tried and figure out why my 4-year-old daughter, Jane, was screaming in pain and throwing up for hours at a time.
As the hard, confusing, beautiful journey started, I didn’t know anything about pediatric migraines or my job as Jane’s parent and caregiver. It was almost too overwhelming as I watched and tried to explain the brain scans and multiple other checks and tests to her. It was too overwhelming as I watched and tried to explain the brain scans and multiple further examinations and tests to her.
For the first few years, I had to learn how to help Jane, how to take time for me to process and install self-care, and how to let her fly in gymnastics. I trusted her. Through time we both learned, grew, cried, screamed out of frustration, and learned to work with each other to create our toolbox.
As a caregiver of a loved one who suffered from a chronic illness, I learned I don’t have to have all the answers for Jane. And, in the middle of all this, something beautiful happened. The teachers, and the other adults watching her while I was away, loved her and supported her.
Trips to the Emergency Room, doctors, family, and the school community became more accessible with time. I started to be empowered through Advocacy, making it a more relaxed conversation with everyone in her life.
Why I wrote Jane Leaps Through Headaches
#1: Trials of Chronic Illness
To my fellow children and families going through the adjusted life of a chronic illness, I wrote Jane's story to let you know you are not alone in this trial. I know what it’s like to wake up one day and be scared because of the unknown, but I also understand that the journey you take with your loved one will have some beautiful moments.
#2: Hope and Courage
You might feel invisible to all the little superheroes fighting a chronic illness, but please know you can gain hope and courage. I can testify that your little ones can still do sports and live a healthy, productive life. You can still be a state champion!
#3 Have Open Conversations
Inclusion for unique children is a struggle. It can be frustrating as a parent. I had to tell everyone why my daughter had to have a water bottle with her. I had to talk about how the computer light might trigger my daughter.
Many of her peers didn’t understand, and many adults didn’t understand. Still, through the open conversations, they eventually knew and accepted these accommodations for my daughter, so all children feel comfortable.
Five Parent/Caregiver Tips
How to help Parents and their children through a chronic illness:
Trust your intuition. Research on your own and find tools that work in your toolbox. What may work for your child might not work for others, and that’s okay.
Be open and vulnerable with your child or loved one, letting it be a journey you share. You will learn so much.
Grace, give it to yourself. Give yourself time for self-care; It’s not selfish.
Be an advocate for your child or loved one; they may not have found their voice yet! You are their voice.
Celebrate the little wins you and your child accomplish. It’s not an easy journey, but with courage, anything is possible for your child.
I hope that this has been helpful to you. I encourage families and children going through a difficult time with chronic illness to feel empowered and realize with courage, anything is possible.
Oh and by the way, if this has resonated with you, please visit my website www.themindylwilson.com and subscribe to my email, and purchase my book, Jane Leaps Through Headaches! I’d love to connect!
CATCH US TOMORROW at 6:30 pm Mountain for our Beacon of Light Podcast Interview.