Happy Mothers Day – Tips for Mothers of Children with Epilepsy
Mother’s Day is May 10th and all of us at the BC Epilepsy Society and the I AM A VOICE for Epilepsy Awareness campaign think it is a great time to discuss mothers of children with epilepsy. If you are the mother of a child with epilepsy, please see below for our tips:
- Tip 1: Learn as much as you can about epilepsy: When a child is diagnosed with epilepsy, it is normal to feel apprehensive about the diagnosis. One of the ways you can combat this is by learning as much as you can about epilepsy and seizures. Check out our Information Sheets to learn more about over 75 epilepsy-related topics. You can also get information from trusted sources such as healthcare providers.
- Tip 2: Get to know your child’s healthcare providers: Your child’s healthcare providers will be an immense help to you during your child’s epilepsy journey. Healthcare providers include family physicians/general practitioners, pediatricians, neurologists, epileptologists, nurses, pharmacists, etc. and they can provide a wealth of information to you. Check out resources on Making the Most of Your Doctors Visit and on Your Health Care team for more information.
- Tip 3: Ensure safety with seizure first aid, medical ID, etc.: We all live with risks in our daily lives and having epilepsy may increase that risk for some people. General epilepsy safety tips are important to follow as is learning seizure first aid. These may also be subjects that you can also teach others in your child’s life to help keep them as safe as possible. Additionally, you can utilize medical identification or other safety devices for epilepsy and seizures to ensure the safety of your child. Check out resources on Seizures and Your Safety, on Seizure First Aid and on Medical Identification and Safety Devices for more information.
- Tip 4: Learn about your child's triggers and auras: Some people with epilepsy may experience an aura – which is a “warning” before a seizure or something that happens right before a seizure occurs – and may also experience triggers for their seizures – which is something that causes a seizure to occur or exacerbates seizures. If your child experiences an aura or triggers, you should make a note of it in order to be prepared in case a seizure occurs. Check out a resource on Seizure Triggers for more information.
- Tip 5: Track your child's seizures with a seizure log: In order to help your child best manage their epilepsy, it is important to know when seizures occur, what they look like and any factors that could potentially be associated with the seizures. Seizure logs can also help identify patterns such as potential auras/triggers and to see if treatments are working. Check out a BC Epilepsy Society blog post on Seizure Logs and a resource on Seizure Recording Forms for more information.
- Tip 6: Ensure your child follows good sleep habits: It is important to ensure that your child is following good sleep habits and is getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night as sleep deprivation is one of the main triggers for seizures. Check out a resource on Seizures and Sleep for more information.
- Tip 7: Create a seizure action/response plan: It is important that your child has a seizure action/response plan in place to ensure that people know important information about their epilepsy/seizures and what to do in the event of a seizure. Information you should include is the type of epilepsy they have, what kinds of seizures they have, what the seizures look like, seizure frequency (including the date of the last seizure), things that could trigger a seizure, any auras they experience, names and dosages of medication and seizure first aid protocol. Check out a resource on Seizure Types and First Aid for more information.
- Tip 8: Explain their epilepsy to them: Your child should learn about their epilepsy and seizures so that they know what it is, what to expect and how to manage it. Be sure to use language that is appropriate for their age and try to avoid using complex medical terminology that is hard for them to understand. Check out resources on A Child's Guide to Seizure Disorders and Straight Talk on Epilepsy: What Kids Need to Know for more information.
- Tip 9: Build a community of support: Building a community of support involves having a network of family, friends and loved ones that you can turn to in times of need. Whether you require assistance or simply want to spend time with people who care about you, building a community of support is helpful in many areas of health and well-being for all people, including mothers of children with epilepsy.
- Tip 11: Prioritize your own self-care: As the mother of a child with epilepsy, life’s responsibilities may begin adding up and that you may become both physically and mentally exhausted. It is important to remember that your own self-care is important. Attend to your physical needs like getting enough sleep, eating healthy and nutritious meals, and making physical activity a priority. You also can find ways to relax and rejuvenate, such as listening to music, reading a good book, meditating, etc. While this may feel overly self-indulgent, rest assured that it is not. It is important to rejuvenate yourself in order to be able to better take care of others.
We hope that are tips are helpful for all the mothers out there who have children with epilepsy. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!