Few people tend to recognize the stress having a CHD child puts on parents.Not only as parents but as husband and wife.No longer do they have time to sneak away for a day alone together or even an evening out. Their whole lives revolve around their child with a heart defect.Their worlds center around doctors appointments,percriptions and making sure their child eats.Surgeons want kids to be at certain weights before surgeries and getting your CHD child to eat can be a stressful battle.Especially if one parent is the primary caregiver and the other parent works.
The stay at home mom or dad has a difficult job to keep the child stable and comfortable and happy,all the while praying the child’s oxygen sats don’t drop or his lips don’t turn blue.The stay at home parent insists that they aren’t jealous of the other parent who works,but in reality they probably are just a little bit because the working parent gets to go out and escape the house for a bit whereas the stay at home parent likely can’t do that when their heart baby is little or about to have surgery.
Hospitalizations are very stressful on parents.It’s not easy seeing your child hooked up to machines.Logically you know the machines are there to help your child,but it is still so painful to watch your child go through this.Moms in particular often refuse to leave their child’s side and it is usually Dad who encurages Mom to go for a walk or something outside of the hospital.Moms need to know that you are not a bad parent for taking time away from the hospital.Have a family member or close friend sit with your child while you and your husband go for a walk outside of the hospital or even go to dinner.Moms and Dads need time away from the hospital as well to take care of themselves. You cannot care for your child without effectively taking care of you as well.
After a hospitalization a young child often will refuse to be separated from Mommy and or Daddy and for awhile that is okay,but you cannot allow them to prevent you from going anywhere.You need to reassure them that you will be back soon.It is at this time that one parent usually begs the other to take a break and acompany them to dinner and or a movie.GO! Leaving your child with a family member or a trusted friend is a good thing for your marriage.It reassures your spouse that they are still a priority in your life.
Making time with your spouse can be difficult but you have to make the time. Even if it’s a quick kiss or a quiet walk around the block with just each other. Or even a scheduled weekly or bi-monthly date night with your spouse can help you recconnect not just as parents but also as husband and wife.Recconnecting includes finding both the emotional and physical intimacy that you may have lost during your heart journey.
On these date nights,make it a point not to talk about the kids.You are on this date to recconnect with each other.The same goes for the physical recconnection.Make it a rule not to talk about the kids and put the focus just on you two and your love for each other and your committment to your marriage.