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Caring for a seriously ill child and how it affects you....

Anyone who is a parent would agree that parenting is not easy, kids certainly do not come with a manual or volume switch! Parenting is an emotional roller coaster full of fun, laughter, tears, sadness, anger, frustration, worry and angst as we forge our way through life raising these small people into teenagers, from teenagers to adults, learning on the job, trying to get it right and for the most part hopefully enjoying the ride.

However for some the journey is tough especially if their child suffers from serious illness or long term medical conditions or disabilities. Life revolves around hospital admissions, visits to doctors, medications and medical routines; financially it's a strain. Siblings are affected too as unconsciously and unintentionally they have to take a bit of a back seat whilst parents focus on the poorly child. They may feel scared, worried, confused a bit neglected, parents may feel guilty, stressed, worried and a bit like life is out of control as they helplessly have to sit back and place their faith and trust in the medical team around them. The family copes, survives, taking each day at a time and hopefully the child recovers or their condition becomes manageable and life takes on some normality again.

Sadly some children may not pull through and support is offered as the family grieve. However for those whose children do recover or whose conditions are stable it is easy to think that everything is okay now but is it? Have you considered how it can affect the child themselves or family members in other ways. For the child, the concern that they may get sick again, or the thoughts of why me? For siblings that may be anxious that it may happen again or the traumatic memories of ambulances or hospital visits. For parents who can't help feeling over protective or on alert for the smallest sign of something being wrong again, the strain it puts on their relationships.

Unprocessed emotions that may have been bottled up may resurface months or years later because the experience had more of an affect than people realise. Either way, to be able to talk about the experience of having a poorly child in the family, to understand how it has affected you can really help to support and heal you emotionally so you can continue your family life together.

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