When her son was diagnosed with the type I diabetes at the age of 2, the whole life of Oksana and her family was turned upside down. Through her journey, she learnt about the massively positive impact of interactions with other parents. This is why she created a support group on Facebook – supported by HUG.
It all happened in Ticino during a family vacation. Oksana’s son was hospitalized, she received an overwhelming amount of information about her son’s future and new routines. After that, she was placed in a medical helicopter with her little one.
The journey let her breathe and think. The whole way to Geneva, her boy was asleep. The beautiful views below calmed Oksana down. She started to ponder and wonder. What the hell could she do to help her child? It was then that she decided to change their lifestyle and her career. She got off the helicopter and started implementing the changes.
One of the most challenging parts of this situation was loneliness. Her regular parents-friends could not relate to her family’s experience. None of them had kids suffering from any kind of family-life-influencing conditions. She lacked a sense of community. I guess it is the same feeling all parents have once their child does not fit the norm, no matter the reason.
Oksana knew there must be other parents out there. This is why, with the support of the HUG (Hopitaux Universitaire de Geneve), she created a group for parents in similar situations. It is called Amazing Parents Geneva – Group For Parents Of Kids With Chronic Conditions.
The goal of the group is not really to exchange tips and tricks (although everybody is welcome to do so), but to promote self-care.
In an aeroplane, you are asked to put your oxygen mask first, before helping your children. The same goes for parenting. We need to care for ourselves. Otherwise, we may become too tired, frustrated, and unhappy, to help our little ones thrive.
SMALL THINGS COUNT
Not all parents cane change jobs, shift careers or introduce any big changes. Each family is different, so for each, a solution and tools will be different.
Not everyone can afford a relaxing day in a SPA; not everyone can find the time for a 2h walk in nature. But there is always something, even if small. That can make a difference.
Oksana’s group will help you figure it out.
HOW IT WORKS
The group is active on Facebook, but also organises meetings in Geneva now and then (participation is not obligatory).
If your child (no matter the age), suffers from autism, diabetes, Down Syndrome, cardiovascular disease, asthma, allergies, or any chronic condition, be it light, mild, or severe, this group is a place where you can safely vent, rage, laugh, or cry. You can share good and bad emotions, hopes, or frustrations. It’s where you will be understood, where nobody will judge. And it is where you will learn how to better take care of yourself.
I am also a member of that group. Z’s health is now more or less ok, and to be honest, she has never suffered from anything very serious or severe. But when she was little, her allergies gave us a hard time and changed the way we lived. Luckily, I had a friend whose son was going through the same. Her presence helped me immensely. I now hope that now I will be able to help someone else.