How to Share the News of Your Cancer Diagnosis with Your Children
As a mom fighting for your life, it can be difficult to know how to approach the topic of your cancer diagnosis with your children. There are many opinions on the right way to handle it, but ultimately, it’s a personal decision. When I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer five years ago, my son was 2-and-a-half. I struggled with whether or not to tell him, but eventually, I decided it was important for him to understand that his mommy was sick.
Choosing the Right Words
One of the challenges I faced was finding the right words to use when talking to my son about my illness. I didn’t want to use the word “cancer” because it can have negative connotations and create fear. Instead, I focused on explaining that mommy was sick and that we were taking steps to get better. I wanted to emphasize the importance of nourishing our bodies, eating well, and trusting in our ability to overcome challenges.
Protecting Them from Fear
I also wanted to shield my son from unnecessary fear and anxiety. I was concerned about the conversations he might have at school and didn’t want him to feel overwhelmed by the seriousness of my illness. By avoiding the word “cancer” and focusing on our journey towards healing, I hoped to create a sense of resilience and strength in him.
Being Honest and Open
While I didn’t go to counseling or seek professional advice, I always made sure to create a safe space for my son to ask questions. I wanted him to feel comfortable talking about my illness and to know that I would always be honest with him. When he asked about treatments or why I had to be away for a few days, I would give him simple and truthful answers. I believe that open communication is key in helping children understand and cope with difficult situations.
Nurturing Their Curiosity
My son is a curious boy, and even when I thought he wasn’t paying attention, he would surprise me with his understanding. As he continues to grow older, I know he will develop a deeper comprehension of cancer and its impact. Until then, I will continue to protect him from unnecessary worry and foster his curiosity in a positive way.
Every parent facing a cancer diagnosis has to make their own decisions about how to share the news with their children. It’s important to consider your child’s age and maturity level, as well as your own comfort level in discussing the topic. By choosing the right words, being honest and open, and nurturing their curiosity, you can help your children navigate this challenging time with love and support.
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