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How to explain to my kids............. How to explain to my kids.............

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Unread 05-08-2002, 09:47 PM
How to explain to my kids.............

I have a 6 year old, 4 year old and 2 year old twins. Somehow the surgery came up in conversation last night and my 2 older kids asked about it. I explained it the best I could, but I could tell they were worried. Then this morning, my 4 year old asked "mommy, do you go to the hospital today?" He's so innocent. I explained to him that it's still several weeks away and that was the end of the conversation. I want to be totally honest with my kids, but I don't want to scare them. I also explained to them, that the same doctor that delivered the twins, will be doing the surgery and that it will be done in the same way that the twins were born(c-section). That seemed to make them feel better because they know I made it through that surgery just fine. But they really did seem worried. Any suggestions on how to explain it all in a way that can make them understand that I will be fine and so they won't be scared? Also, how many of you had your kids visit you at the hospital? Did that work out okay? I want to see my kids while I'm at the hospital, but I'm wondering if it's better to just talk to them on the phone.
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Unread 05-08-2002, 10:09 PM
How to explain to my kids.............

I have a grandson who turned 5 the week of my surgery. We had just explained that Grandma had an owie in her tummy that the doctor had to fix. He was okay with that much information. I also explained that the doctor would have to cut my tummy to get it out but that I would be asleep and that it would not hurt. I only explained that because I needed him to understand that he couldn't jump on me etc., for awhile. I don't think he would have understood very much more. He was okay with all that information and very careful of my tummy. Although he was anxious for me to get all better soon. I'm a very fun and active grandma.
I don't think it would be a good idea for the kids to see you in the hospital. You will have alot of stuff hooked up to you for the first day or two and it might scare them. It is hard to know ahead of time how you will feel. Or if you feel like you could be yourself for them. But that is just my opinion. Other women might have had different experiences or opinons. They can always call on the phone to talk to you and make sure you are okay.
Unread 05-08-2002, 10:15 PM
How to explain to my kids.............

Dear Pasdechat,

I, too, have a gaggle of kids!! I have a 10 year old, 5 year old twins and a 2 year old. My surgery is the 17th, and I've been thinking about that a lot too.

I told my kids "mommy is going to have her tummy fixed, and it will be sore for awhile." I tried to make it low key...but I know what you mean, they asked a lot of questions.
They seem okay with this, and know that for a couple of nights I wont be home. I am going to call them each day, but will probably not have the younger ones come up at all. IF they get very restless, I'm going to have my DH talk with me and we'll work it out. I figure that the 1st day and a half will be scary for them...tubes, etc. The second day MIGHT be better (?!) but I'm just not sure. So if they are upset and want to come, maybe late afternoon of the 2nd day for me.

Also, just today I bought them each special surprises to open while I'm gone. I'm going wrap each one and attach a note. Nothing big, coloring books, etc. I also had a gal in the chat room suggest telling them they get to play "take care of mommy" at special times when I come home. Bringing water, fluffing pillows, etc. My twins LOVED this idea, and can't wait to be big kid helpers!

I empathize with your concerns, but it sounds like you are a very sensitive, caring mom who knows her kids well. You are the best judge of their emotions, so trust your instincts.

Good luck to you,

Unread 05-08-2002, 10:19 PM
How to explain to my kids.............

I agree with Shelley about small children in the hospital. I'm afraid that seeing Mom hooked up to an IV and a catheter, and possibly in pain, might frighten them.

Also, small children have a tough time sitting still and being quiet for very long, so if they do visit, it needs to be for a very short time (5 minutes, maybe.) If you have a roommate, she might not appreciate your kids as much as you do.

In the hospital where I worked for many years, we had a rule: the family had to have one healthy adult visiting, per child. With the one child/one adult rule, there was always someone available to remove an unhappy little one from the area, when needed.

If your children do visit, they'll probably want to be held, and that would be painful. While I was in the hospital, I didn't feel very well, either, and I mostly wanted to be left alone.

My daughter was eleven when I had my hyst, and she didn't want to see me in the hospital. We talked on the phone, and she was satisfied that I was OK and would be home soon.

Good luck with your surgery, and please give some serious thought to the idea of having your kids visit you in the hospital.

Best wishes,
Unread 05-08-2002, 10:42 PM
Long but personal response.


I know this is a long post, but I am a stay at home mom and my son is my main concern through all of this.

I have a four year old son as well. I did a little question and answer session with him. I began by telling him how great I thought he was as a kid. He liked that part. LOL I went on to say that I didn't want to have anymore kids because he was just the right one for me. (and his Dad) Again, this put him in a mood to listen to me.

I said, "You see, Moms have a special part inside for kids to grow and mine is bent. I need to get it out, right?" He agreed, as he could relate "BENT" with not working as opposed to Mommy being "broken" somehow, wich generally means you get rid of He asked how I was going to get it out...and that was where the truth became very watered down.

I used technical speech about how the doctor has special doctor tools to open up my belly, get out the bent part, and then close my belly back up. But I'd need a giant bandaid for a while and it would be a "bo-bo" that would make me a little tired and grumpy and I'd have to stay in bed for a while to get better. This all went very well.

The last thing I did was ask him how he could help take care of me. Even at 4 he had suggestions. He'd cover my feet in bed if they were cold, he'd draw me pictures and tell me stories. He offered to help me eat ice cream and watch tv as well, as those were apparently VITAL to feeling better!!

I realize with older kids you have to step up the concept, but perhaps I would just suggest being VERY CONFIDENT in your words to them. I tell my 4 year old that I'm just feeling sad because I have sore tummy. That lets him know that mom needs to cry. He doesn't need to know it's because I'm scared I may not make it home to him!!(Must admit that fear is subsiding)

CONFIDENCE is the key word.

I also found out with my D&C 2 months ago, that the hospital is not the place for kids. I thought he could handle it, but seeing me in a bed in a strange place without "my own pillow" made him very upset. The DH and I are going to try something a little different. They will go together to get a "toy" for me. Something like a legos toy that my son can put together and bring to me on day 2 to help me get better and think of him while I'm gone. THEN, I will bring it home with me from the hospital and give it back to him. It's created a little scenario that is giving my little one somethign to focus on besides mom feeling bad. Who knows if it will work...but so far, it's been his focus instead of the place where the doctors are.

I'm not sure if any of this helps, but it seems to be working in my house. Good luck!! Hope your kids remember when they are older, just how much thought you give them!! You must be a great mom!

Unread 05-09-2002, 01:19 AM
My kids won't be seeing me at hosp.

Hi Pasdechat!

I have a 4 y/o dd, 6 y/o ds and 9 y/o dd. I'm very fortunate that my sis and in-law have asked to keep the kids for me the first two weeks! I was very concerned with them seeing me in the hosp with all the tubes and not being totally with it. I will call them as soon as I am feeling up to it though!! My mom didn't agree with me, but my sis and I were much older when she had hers, 20 and 13.

I've tried to explain it to them pretty much the same way the other women have here. I did go one step further, and tell their teachers so that if the kids started to act differently in shcool, that this might be the reason. Glad I did because my ds started crying in school one afternoon, and his teacher pulled him aside and talked to him. He told her that he was afraid for mommy, and she told him that everything would be ok, that the doctors were going to make mommy feel better real soon, and that if it would make him feel better, they would say a prayer for me. Needless to say, that did the trick! My oldest doesn't seem too terribly concerned, and the youngest is in her own little world!!

Wish you luck with the kiddos. I know that they are uppermost in your mind through all of this, along with all the other concerns you have for yourself regarding this surgery!


It will all work out...eventually!!!
Unread 05-09-2002, 07:53 AM
What I did

I too was very concerned when it came to my 9yo ds.
I explained that I had to have out what was making me so sick every month....he was also concerned that I might still need it ,but I told him I didn't and would be better without this part of me that didn't work.
I explained they would put me to sleep and then the doctors would deal with the bad part of me and put me back together. I explained the catherter, the IV the pain pump, etc. His biggest concern was that I wouldn't get to come home!
My hospital didn't give them but another nearby hospital did....I took him on a tour.....that really helped!
He was there on the first day to see me.....and was able to scoot over and he curled up next to me in bed so I could stroke his hair (My invisible way of saying I love you), I showed him how the tv worked and we watched cartoons for about 20 mins or so....then he went home.
I thought that the catheter, IV, nasal oxogen, etc. would scare him....he said that stuff didn't scare him, not seeing me scared him!! He said he knew the doctors would take good care of me.
He called me on the phone (Big boy thing to do) and we talked about his day, etc.
Now that I am home, he gets me drinks, we watch movies together and he's glad I'm home where he and Dad can keep an eye on me.....
Don't worry too much about it, they are more worried about you and making you feel better.
I know this is long but I hope it helps you out some!!


Unread 05-09-2002, 08:37 AM
How to explain to my kids.............

My story is almost identical to SeaShelley except that I have a 3 yr old grandson and I wanted him to come see me in the hospital, so that when I got home he would understand when I talked about my tummy being tender. I guess with a 5 yr old, they could more easily understand w/o the visual aid. I waited for the cath and iv to be removed before I had them bring him and I was feeling pretty good. He did fine and it was so funny cause he kept talking in whispers. Somehow he knew this place was different.

And when it was time to go his Mom raised him up with his arms pinned to his side so that he could give me a 'superman' kiss. It lifted my spirits to see him, and when I got home, he never came near my tummy and he usually treats me like I'm a jungle gym.

Good luck with all those kiddo's, I raised 5 myself.

Unread 05-09-2002, 09:53 AM
How to explain to my kids.............

You will get as many opinions on this as you will get answers. I think it depends on the age of the kids, the kind of relationship you have with them, and other factors.

My kids that are still at home, 11 and 13, came to visit me the night of my surgery. I didn't tell them about it until two days before so that they would not think it was a big deal. It worked! Plus, I explained to them what I would probably look and feel like and not to be alarmed. (That's what hospitals are recover!) They weren't and the surprise was that the day I went home, my youngest (a boy) wanted to watch while the surgeon took out my stitches and suprapubic catheter. He was fascinated and asked a lot of questions. He's always said he wants to be a surgeon, but now I believe him!

Obviously, the more the kids know about what to expect, the less they will worry. So whether your kids come to the hospital or not, be sure to let them know what to expect (how long you will be in the hospital, what they will do in the hospital for all those days, what you will look like and feel like at the hospital and at home for the first few days). I also made it clear to my kids that once I was home, although I would look pretty good, I was not allowed to do any work for 6 weeks. I told them I wouldn't be able to vacuum, mop, do laundry, lift milk gallons, etc. Since they knew all of that, they offered to do just about everything when I was home.
Unread 05-09-2002, 10:04 PM
How to explain to my kids.............

Thanks everyone for your responses. I read every one of them and thought about your advice. I decided I might let my 4 year old and 6 year old come see me at the hospital. My 2 year old twins would never understand why I can't hold them. But we'll see about them. Unfortunately my kids know alot about hospitals. All 3 of my boys have asthma and 2 of them have severe attacks and have been in the hospital for it. They have had things hooked up to them, and although they didn't like it, they seemed to know it had to be done and that it was making them better. They get excited when we drive by the hospital....which is just a few blocks from our house....they think of hospitals and doctors as places and people that help you get better. I might just play it by ear....if they seem fine without me, then I'll just talk to them on the phone. If they REALLY want to see me, then maybe after the first 24 hours after surgery. I have time to think about it. Thanks again!

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