How To Cope When Your Child Is Very Ill

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This morning, we had a visit at the local emergency room.  My  one child is very ill, and they are running tests to see what the problem is.  They’ve sent her home, and she’s lying on the couch next to me, sleeping.  Right now, we are trying to keep her comfortable until we can figure out what to do.

As parents, we want the best for our children and because of that, we hope that nothing bad will ever happen to our children.  This is not always the case. 

 What do you do when the bottom of your world drops out?  What happens when you get that horrible diagnosis?  How do you cope when your child is very ill?

Almost a decade ago, my older children were diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease.  We were told they would eventually lose all of their sight, and they have.  I’ve learned a few things in the years between that diagnosis and today.  Hopefully, you’ll find some helpful tidbits!

Don’t Blame Yourself

I think the first thing that goes through a parent’s mind when they get a horrible diagnosis for their child is: what did I do wrong?  How could I have stopped this?  Sometimes, you can’t stop it.  Sometimes, you didn’t do anything wrong. 

Don’t Hang Around Negative People

In order to help your child fight for his health, you need to keep yourself healthy.  Dealing with a very ill child is emotionally exhausting, and it’s easy to get yourself run down at times.  Conserve your emotional energy; surround yourself with encouraging people and limit your exposure to the negative people.

For example, when my older girls were first diagnosed, I had several people who felt my children’s health issues were due to my lack of religious faith.  I am a religious person, but they felt that I hadn’t prayed hard enough or done such and such.  They were very vocal about this too.  After a while, I began to avoid them.  I didn’t need the negativity.

Seek Support

Knowledge is empowering:  read up on your child’s health condition and learn about new pain management techniques.  Perhaps you may join a support group to gain wisdom and support from other parents. 

Take Care Of Yourself 

When your child is diagnosed with a serious illness, life can revolve around medicine, doctor appointments, and your child’s health.  At times, you may wonder if there is “life out there”! You may wonder what life was like before the illness and you may mourn over your change in lifestyle. 

Take some time to get out and do something for yourself.  Give yourself permission to take an hour or so where you don’t think about illnesses, doctors, tests, or anything else like that.  This will help you to get the strength to go on–especially when the going gets tough.

Do you have a child with a chronic or terminal illness? If so, how do you cope?  Please share your tips!


[…] my early parenting years was trying to figure out when my child should see a doctor. Were they sick, slightly sick, or really sick? I admit that I ran to the doctor quite a bit with my first […]

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