Any parent who watches their child suffer probably wishes they could just go through the trial on behalf of the child.
Helping a daughter with breast cancer cope with the diagnosis and treatment is a tough trial to face. You remember the sleepless nights looking after her during childhood illnesses or tears from her broken hearts. This time, however, the problem isn’t easily fixed with a kiss for her boo boo and a bandage. You need to know the best ways a parent can help.
Refrain from Guilt and Blame
Another tendency a parent has is to blame him or herself for this misfortune. You will most likely immediately run down a list of every potential thing that you did wrong in raising your daughter that may have contributed to her cancer or failure to discover it earlier.
Now is the time to stand beside her and help her get through it, not to focus on your own discomfort, possible failures and worries. When your daughter is going through breast cancer treatment, be there for her. This is her battle.
She Needs to Know:
– That she is still beautiful and has worth
– That her emotions are legitimate and valid
– That she is loved and has a shoulder to cry on or someone to laugh with
– That there is hope for recovery
– That someone is there to help her with the practical, physical aspects of everyday tasks
Talk about What’s on Her Mind
Sometimes it might get personal — be there to listen when she wants to talk and refrain from offering parental advice. Don’t shrink back from potentially embarrassing topics. After all, you made it through the big talk when she was a pre-teen, about the birds and the bees, so nothing is off limits now.
Whether you want to accept it or not, today’s culture places blatant as well as unspoken innuendos in regard to a woman’s body. Specifically, her breasts represent a great deal of her womanhood. From breastfeeding her child to intimacy with her husband, this part of her body surrounds a great deal of emotion.
Another feature women associate with femininity is their hair. Even the Bible speaks of women and their hair, but it also expresses that a woman’s beauty comes from so much more:
But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. —1 Peter 3:3-4
Deal with the Effects of Cancer Treatment Respectfully
One of the most difficult parts of dealing with breast cancer is the effects of the treatment. Mainly, hair loss from the chemotherapy is often extremely tough to deal with for a woman. The wigs are difficult to get used to. They are hot and awkward, and even the prettiest of scarves often screams, “cancer patient.”
One thing you can do to help is treat her to girly things, like special manicures or pedicures. Another gesture is to allow her to feel comfortable with her possible hair loss by not staring or talking about hair and by allowing her to spend time without a wig, hat or scarf without feeling as if she is making you uncomfortable.
Be a Supportive Co-Survivor
According to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, “Co-survivors can be family members, spouses or partners, friends, health care providers or colleagues. Anyone who is there to lend support from diagnosis through treatment and beyond is considered a co-survivor.” As her parent, you are your daughter’s most important co-survivor. Be there for the practical day-to-day tasks. Offer to drive her to doctor appointments, and sit with her while waiting.
However, don’t be hurt if she declines. Offer help, but don’t be too pushy. If she has small children, allow them to have some fun times with grandma and grandpa while she gets some needed rest. Do her laundry, give her fresh bedding or cook her favorite meal if she is up to eating it. Read this list of tips on how to be a more effective co-survivor for additional ideas on ways to be supportive of your daughter during this difficult and trying time.
Be Her Rock
One simple gesture that is so readily overlooked is to offer her a hug and a shoulder to cry on, but it’s also healthy to allow her to laugh. Let her know you will never give up praying for her health and well being. She will always be your little girl, and she needs to know that you are always there for her.