Taking Care of Yourself
Caring for a sick or hurt child can be stressful and physically and emotionally draining. As caregiver for your child, you may experience:
- Frequent thoughts or dreams about the injury
- Avoiding reminders of what happened
- Difficulty sleeping or focusing
- Feeling sad, anxious, or irritable
- Not feeling able to take time for self-care
- Being overly concerned about safety
These responses often go away after the first few weeks in the hospital. For others, however, they continue for a long time.
To be able to best care for your child, it’s vital to also take care of yourself.
- Eat healthy food.
- Relax (read a book, take a bath, get a massage, take a walk).
- Get enough sleep.
- Know your limits.
- Answer questions from others and have visitors only when you feel ready.
- Talk to supportive friends and family. You also can reach out to:
- Your nurse, who can also help you find other people to talk with
- A psychologist or mental health counselor
- Your faith community
- Other families who have gone through something similar
If you are experiencing feelings of guilt, remember that accidents happen, and you are doing everything you can to help and support your child. Feelings of guilt are normal and it can be helpful to talk about them.