A New Parent with IBS is Worried but Determined
The time has finally come – I’m going to be a new parent! My wife and I had a gender reveal party recently and we just found out we’re going to have a baby boy! I couldn’t be prouder and more excited! I’m still in celebratory-mode – I’m sure many of you parents reading this know exactly how I feel. Nonetheless, when I think about the reality of raising a child, I also become both curious and nervous at the same time due to the fact that I have irritable bowel syndrome.
Fear #1 - what if my child has IBS too?!
I wrote an article a while ago about the fears I had if I were to ever become a parent. One of those fears was that my child (or son in this case) would get IBS because of me. Experts do not yet know whether or not there is a hereditary link to IBS, so maybe my fears are just creating nonsensical notions in my head. Even so, let’s dive into my silly, worry-filled ideas for the sake of perspective: What if my son does have IBS and has a troubling childhood or teenage-life because of it? What if one day he has such a horrible IBS attack and has to miss out on a very important college prep exam, or a school performance, or a championship basketball game, or his first high school prom – needless to say you get my point. Since I know what it’s like to live with this horrible debilitating disease, I’m afraid he’ll experience the level of hardships that I once I had to face in life, and I want to do whatever it takes to protect him from those struggles. However, it’s unfortunate that I can only be there for him as much as life allows, which means he’s going to have to learn to deal with certain situations on his own, and I’m going to have to be OK with that.
Fear #2 - What if I miss out on something important because of IBS?
Another major fear of mine is not being able to be there for my son as much as I want and need to because of my condition. IBS is a chronic illness that affects me so severely that I hardly leave my home most times unless for necessity or a very special occasion. So, what if I miss out on his high school graduation or his championship basketball game? Or, what if I attend one of his school plays, which he has a major role in, and I end up having to excuse myself to the bathroom during a vital part of the play, and he notices it? What if he realizes every time I wasn’t there for him and he holds it against me? My fears and imagination can surely play with my insecurities, but these are scenarios I believe are practical enough to worry about as a new parent. However, since I am aware of my fears and anxieties, I think the right way to handle them is by always communicating with my son and reassuring him that even though daddy is sick, he’s still cheering him on and will always be proud of him no matter what.
Face the fears
I’m only human and I know I will always have to deal with all kinds of fears, especially when it comes to my baby boy. However, what’s important is what I do when I recognize those fears and how I prepare myself to face them. For instance, if my son were to have IBS, then at least he’ll have a dad who’s experienced with the disease and can help guide him through the obstacles as best as possible. In other words, he would never have to suffer alone. And if I did have to miss out on any of his important events because of my IBS, then at least I can communicate to him that I am proud of what he’s doing and instill in him the values he needs to perform well in his endeavors. With that, he can feel like I’m always with him whether physically or in his heart when hears my voice cheering him on. It’s natural to have fears as a human being, but how we face them is what makes all the difference.
Thank you for reading and if there are any parents out there with IBS, please feel free to give me any lessons or advice on parenting with IBS 101. Thanks!
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?