Happy Mothers Day – Tips for Mothers 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 with epilepsy. If you are a mother who has epilepsy, please see below for our tips:
- Tip 1: Explain your epilepsy to your child: It is important to explain your epilepsy to your child as early as possible, adding more information as they grow older. 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 on Straight Talk on Epilepsy: What Kids Need to Know resources for ideas on age-appropriate explanations on epilepsy for children. If your child asks a question about epilepsy that stumps you, you can also check out BC Epilepsy Society Information Sheets on over 75 different epilepsy-related topics or ask your healthcare provider to get them the information that they need.
- Tip 2: Teach your child what to do if you have a seizure: If your child witnesses you having a seizure, they may not understand what is happening and may be frightened. It is important that your child knows what your seizures look like and understands how to help you in case you were to have a seizure around them. Check out resources on Seizure First Aid and on Seizure Types and First Aid for more information.
- Tip 3: See your healthcare provider for regular checkups: Your healthcare provider is there to help you during your journey with epilepsy. Healthcare providers can include family physicians/general practitioners, neurologists, epileptologists, nurses, pharmacists, etc. and they are there for you to answer questions and provide the care you need. Check out resources on Making the Most of Your Doctors Visit and on Your Health Care team for more information.
- Tip 4: Remember to take your medications on time: Missed medication is one of the main triggers for seizures so complying to the treatment protocols as set out by your healthcare provider is important, including taking your medications regularly, on time and at the correct dosage as prescribed to you by your healthcare provider. Check out resources on Anti-Epileptic Medications, on Your Medication for Epilepsy and on Special Considerations about Seizure Medication for Women for more information.
- Tip 5: Reduce seizure risk by getting enough sleep: You should be following regular sleep habits and trying to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Additionally, if you are the parent of a newborn/infant, you can try sleeping while your child is napping. This is important as sleep deprivation is one of the main triggers for seizures. Check out a resource on Seizures and Sleep for more information.
- Tip 6: Reduce seizure risk with a healthy balanced diet: Fueling your body and mind by eating healthy foods is important. Avoid junk food and eating a balanced diet with healthy, whole foods is important for both physical health and mental health. It has also been found that diet may even play a role in seizure control.
- Tip 7: Reduce seizure risk by exercising regularly: Exercise is important for both physical health and mental well-being. Try to get some exercise, even if it is going on a daily walk around your neighborhood, Exercise energizes you, pumps your body full of endorphins that make you feel good, reduces stress, and may even play a role in seizure control.
- Tip 8: Take precautions to ensure safety with epilepsy: We all live with risks in our daily lives and having epilepsy may increase that risk for some people and it is important to take precautions to ensure your own safety as well as the safety of others. What precautions you need to take depends on a number of factors; for example, a mother with epilepsy who has frequent seizures without warning may need to take more precautions than a mother with epilepsy who has very well controlled seizures or who experiences a warning prior to a seizure. You may want to try things like ensuring that help is nearby when doing tasks, cooking only with items that have an automatic shutoff system, changing diapers on a changing pad on the floor rather than on a changing table, etc. Check out resources on Seizures and Your Safety and Parenting Concerns for the Mother with Epilepsy for more details.
- 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 with epilepsy.
- Tip 11: Prioritize your own self-care: As a mother, 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, especially as a mother with epilepsy as this could trigger a seizure. 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 epilepsy. Happy Mother’s Day everyone!