"Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.” ―Karl Lagerfield
Mr. Lagerfield not only knew fashion, he knew human nature.
I saw a post from a new Mom who recently brought her adorable CDH baby home about how she had not taken a shower, truly felt she didn't have time in taking care of her child and this inspired this post. Often times parents, expecially those of these children put their own basic needs at the bottom of their endless to dos they do on an hourly or daily basis and the results are not good. This also applies to our grieving families too Grief is very hard work.
H.A.L.T. is a self-care tool.
H is for hunger, we need fuel to live, nutrition to keep our energy levels up and lack of nutrition can lead to illness. If you just can't make meals, stock up on healthy snacks, drink tea (herbal is best but black tea is fine too) through the day and water rather than caffeinated drinks all day. You will not "crash and burn". Ask others for help and be specific. If you know your good friend makes the best vegetable soup ask if they will make you some to get you through this overwhelming time! Most great friends would love to help and that is a very small thing that is truly appreciated.
A is for anger. Often times with this diagnoses of CDH there is anger. Why does a child, mine or anyone else's child have to endure this birth defect? We are robbed of the perfect pregnancy and the typical ideal birth and going home. It isn't fair, nor is life but we hope through it all it balances itself out in the end. Do not suppress your anger. It will manifest itself and come out in unproductive ways. Writing about it can help, exercise can help and expressing it can help in a controlled way. If you have trouble with this, do not be ashamed of asking for help from a professional counselor or clergy.
L is for loneliness, our experiences can make us so isolated from the rest of the world. There are wonderful on-line groups through forums or Facebook where you can communicate to other new or grieving parents who understand what you are going through. Often times one person will express something others may not have realized they experienced or are going through themselves. Feeling that connection can help. For grieving families look into local groups of Compassionate Friends or others which may meet once a month. For couples, take at least a couple of hours a month to have a date. Go for a quick dinner, an ice cream cone or a walk around the block. Listen to one another, it doesn't mean you are both going to be on the same page but respect what the other is going through.
T is for tired. This is a tough one. Often times many of our families have suffered with insomnia. It is a nasty side effect of being a family of a CDH baby sometimes. Some of the sleeplessness is normal for new parents and grieving parents too. Try to get into a regular routine. Do not feel you have to do everything at once. Pick one thing to "keep up with", laundry comes to mind and let the other things slide so you can rest or sleep. If you continue to have problems sleeping or getting enough rest, consult your doctor who can help and come up with a solution.