As a parent with cystic fibrosis, you will likely have questions related to taking care of your child as you also strive to take care of yourself. On the one hand, having a child will likely increase your motivation to stay healthy in order to be there as long as possible and keep up with the physical demands of parenthood.
At the same time, it can also mean that you have less time to maintain your health and complete your daily CF treatment routine. Parents with CF are, therefore, faced with the unique challenge of finding ways to fit in a time-consuming treatment plan while also providing for their child's needs.
The Challenges of Infancy
As a new parent, you will face the same challenges as any other parent when it comes to caring for an infant, including stress, questions about breastfeeding, sleepless nights, and adjusting to a new routine.
When you have CF, however, you are not necessarily able to temporarily put your own needs on hold and focus solely on the health of your newborn baby.
At this stage of your child's development, you will likely be facing the significant challenge of balancing the time it takes to care for yourself with the time it takes to care for a baby. For this reason, it is important that you are able to rely on your partner, spouse, family, community, or another form of support to take over some of the childcare duties so that you can devote the time you need to your daily CF care.
"My doctor told me that in order to be a good mom, you have to put yourself first. My wife has made that possible. When I'm resting, she knows she's on duty. I can't imagine not having a family support system. It takes a village." -- Sarah Foose, adult with CF
If you find yourself getting too busy or forgetting treatments, it is important that you talk to your CF care team. It can be easy for new parents to put their children before themselves, but having an open discussion with your care team can help you arrive at tips and strategies for finding a treatment plan that works for you.
Watch the video below to hear Jenny Stump, a mother with CF, discuss:
- The challenges of fitting in daily CF care while caring for a baby
- Her own tips for managing your health as a parent with CF
Parenting a Toddler
As some parents with CF have noted, being the parent of a toddler comes with a unique set of challenges. This is the time when your child is developing new language and motor skills, which often means that they are highly active.
“There are so many physical demands as a mom -- especially when your kid is a toddler. If I hadn't worked to optimize my health, I don't know how I would keep up.” -- Sara Dunn, adult with CF
Keeping up with a toddler can sometimes cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and other complications related to doing higher-than-normal levels of activity as a person with CF. Parenting a toddler can require a great deal of physical energy, so it is important to talk to your CF care team if you are struggling to keep up with your child because of your health. By partnering with your care team, you can discuss possible strategies or adjust your treatment plan to help meet your changing needs.