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The Mothers' Living Stories Project
FOR ILL PARENTS

Care for Yourself

Most mothers struggle to balance caring for themselves while caring for their children and families. That balance is even more difficult to achieve when a mother is ill. The women whose stories are included in Another Morning speak eloquently to this challenge, revealing different ways to approach it.

Put Caring for Yourself at the Top of Your List

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? -- Hillel

  • Move out of panic as quickly as possible through some combination of expressing emotions, gathering information, and taking action: turn to family or friends, a therapist, social worker or member of the clergy, mobilize a network, take charge of your medical care and decisions, hire help, if you have the resources.

  • Find safe places to express your changing feelings about illness and explore its long-term effects on your life. Identify people who can really listen to you with compassion and without fear or judgment and let them comfort and support you.

  • Create time and space to slow down, quiet your mind, and listen to the messages from within in whatever way is right for you: meditate, walk in nature, soak in a bath, write in your journal, listen to music, garden, talk to a friend, therapist or spiritual leader, join a support group, pray.

  • Set limits, revise priorities, let go of extraneous people and activities. Parents have no choice but to keep going and to do a lot of what they were doing before diagnosis. One mother said, “We don’t crawl under a blanket and stay there until the day we die. I didn’t know that before cancer. You do. You do what you have to do.” But you can also do less and do differently. Focus on what’s most important.

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