A key issue in parenting when you have congenital heart defect (CHD) is being able to balance the day-to-day demands of being a parent and living with CHD.
Some days it may be hard to figure out who to put first – your child or yourself. However as hard as it may be, it’s important to take care of your own physical and emotional needs first. As a parent this may not sound “right,” but everyone will benefit in the long run if you are in better health and have more energy.
CHD can be unpredictable, but so can your child’s needs. When CHD overrules parenthood, call friends, family members or a sitter to help. Parenting changes with older children, but it’s still important to ask others for support.
It’s also important to do whatever it takes to find time to relax. Here are some simple ways to make relaxation a top priority:
- Visit with friends
- Go see a movie
- Take time to read
Your parenting style may be different from your sister’s or your friend’s, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a great parent. Maintaining realistic expectations can make meeting the challenges of parenting with CHD easier.
Additional information about parenting with a CHD and reproductive health for young women living with a CHD is available from the Congenital Heart Public Health Consortium through the HealthyChildren.org Website.