Talking to Your Children About Your Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis

When Should I Tell Them?

No matter how old or young your children are, you have probably figured out that your children are pretty sensitive to your demeanor and mood. Even as babies, children can pick up on tension and stress in their parents and often respond in a similar manner. In fact, research has actually shown that children often sense something is wrong with a parent long before they have been told about it.
Although there is no perfect time to tell your children what is going on, try to avoid waiting too long. If you try to hide your illness or keep it a secret, your children can be deeply hurt if they find out that you've kept this from them. This can also make it difficult for them to trust you. While you don't want to wait too long, you may want to wait until you have a second opinion and fairly definitive information on the stage of your cancer and treatment plan.
If possible, try to talk to your children with your spouse or partner present. If you are a single mother, having a close friend or family member there for support can help make it easier on you as well. Try to talk to your children in an environment that makes them feel safe, such as your home. Doing this fairly early on in your treatment can help to avoid having to talk to them while you are hospitalized.
Also, try to pick a time when your children are well rested and you can have plenty of uninterrupted time with them. Turn off the cell phones, television, and other potential distractions so that you can have some quality quiet time to talk to them and answer any questions or concerns they may have.
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Ovarian Cancer Information

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