Mothers with Breast Cancer

Jan 02, 2020
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Becoming a mother is an exciting and wonderful journey. But what happens when that journey is disrupted with the diagnosis of breast cancer? What then? What are the best ways to handle motherhood and your breast cancer battle at the same time? 

Mothers with Breast Cancer

Becoming a mother is an exciting and wonderful journey. But what happens when that journey is disrupted with the diagnosis of breast cancer? What then? What are the best ways to handle motherhood and your breast cancer battle at the same time? 

Being a mother is such an exciting, difficult, challenging, and wonderful thing. We thank our mothers for the love and care they've given us, and we strive to be the best mothers we can be for our children. But when a diagnosis of breast cancer steps into your life as a mother, what then? Naturally, the first thought will be of your children. How will I care for them? How will life go on for us as a family through my diagnosis and care? What happens when I can't care for them? What happens if I don't win this battle? In this two-part blog, we will be discussing what to do and how to handle parenthood while going through both your diagnosis and treatment. In the second post, we will be discussing and sharing some of the best resources out there for you to help through this journey. 

At first, there might not feel like there are a ton of resources out there for you. As we discussed in our November blog, it's is still rare to be a young woman with a young family and be diagnosed with cancer. But, it still happens more than most realize. As a mother in this situation, you will be dealing with the same amount of day to day struggles and responsibilities, but it will get even harder when that diagnosis comes. You will now be facing treatment, care, long hospital stays, surgeries, and not feeling like yourself or very good at all while still dealing with your normal load of life. It is almost like your life has been split into two, and you have to live through both of them at the same time. 

It is going to be difficult. That fact won't be a mystery to you. Being apart is hard, but with love and devotion, you've made that an integral part of your life. With this same kind of love and devotion, you can fight this battle as a parent. Please know that you're not alone. You might feel like you are, you might feel disconnected from your family and loved ones but you're not. Once the diagnosis comes, your first duty as you approach the battle is to rally your troops. If not for you, then for your children. Show them that they too will not be alone. The family dynamic might change while you're fighting your diagnosis, but there will be a parade of love and care for them and you if you let it.

 There are many important things to keep in mind when going through your diagnosis as a parent. You will need to find the best fit for you and your family, make informed and family-based decisions on what's best for all of you, and your decisions will not be the same as anyone else's. This is all okay. Here are some tips and ideas to keep in mind as you begin this journey, together. 

  • Tell your children the truth. No matter how young, the idea that mommy is sick needs to be introduced and addressed. Hiding treatment and its effects can cause confusion and unnecessary anger because they don't understand what's happening. Children are smart and will figure out what's going on. If you keep it hidden from them, their imaginations can create a situation even worse than what's happening. Choose to tell them what you think they can understand and handle, and keep them included in the conversation. 
  • Explain that it's not a cold they can catch and that the doctors are here to make you feel better. 
  • Including them in the conversation can also keep you accountable that you can't give up. Make sure to explain who is there to help, that your partner is there to care for them as they always have, and that other family members and friends will be helping too. 
  • Show them what the doctor's offices, hospitals, and treatment spaces are like. Introduce them to your care team. Make it tactile, and somewhere they can see and understand. This way they can visualize where the treatments are when mom is gone and know who she's with when she's there. 
  • On days that you're tired and feeling ill, pump the breaks. Watch movies, read books, and take naps together. If you need alone time, call on your support team to rally the troops. 
  • Plan your treatments according to you and your family. Your treatment plan is just as unique as you and your needs. Schedule your treatment with something to look forward to afterward. This can be picking up your child from school, a family movie or game night, or putting them to bed. Reward yourself for making it through another day of treatment. 
  • You are allowed to say no when other's want to talk about your diagnosis. You can set certain times when the topic is off-limits and when you are free to talk about it. You can say no when other's want to share their cancer stories with you and give their advice. Set limits for what you and your family need, and the best way to keep up morale and happiness within your home during this already challenging time. 
  • You are a strong mama bear. The pressure to keep up with a normal life and its responsibilities will weigh on you. Remember, life will not be normal once you receive your diagnosis. You can't force normal or feel guilty when normal isn't an option. You don't need to force your already tired body to get up and keep up with the normal life that you had before your diagnosis. You have a team of loved ones who are fighting tooth and nail to help, so let them. It's hard to accept help, especially when it comes to the care of your children. Set boundaries, and ask for exactly what you need. Let them in, and let any guilt go. 

You are still a parent when you receive your diagnosis, this is not your fault. Your children want to help you, love you, and support you on this journey. Let them in. Know when to say no, be strong enough to set boundaries and to let people in, and know when it's time to ask for help. You will not hang up your superhero mom cape when it's time to ask for help or when treatment has you beat. If anything, it makes your cape that much stronger. We will see you next time for part two of this blog. Until then be well, keep fighting, and go into 2020 with your head up.