The Courageous Parent: Balancing Life with an Ostomy

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February 7, 2024 by Marjorie R. Rogers, MA (English), Certified Consultant

Parenting is an expedition filled with joys, challenges, and unexpected turns. For parents living with an ostomy, these challenges can seem magnified. An ostomy, a surgical procedure creating an opening in the body for the discharge of bodily wastes, can be life-altering. However, it doesn’t diminish the capacity to lead a fulfilling and active life, including being an incredible parent. This article aims to provide practical advice and insights for parents navigating life with an ostomy, offering solutions to enhance their daily routine while maintaining a strong, loving bond with their children.

Understanding and Adjusting to Life with an Ostomy

The initial phase of living with an ostomy involves a significant period of adjustment, both physically and emotionally. It requires learning new skills and understanding how to manage the ostomy effectively. This adjustment period can be a time of mixed emotions – relief from previous medical issues, coupled with anxiety about the new changes. It’s crucial during this time to practice self-compassion and patience, as mastering ostomy care is a gradual process.

Establishing a Routine with an Ostomy

  1. Ostomy Care Management: Developing a consistent routine for ostomy care is essential. This might involve setting aside specific times for changing or emptying the ostomy bag. Establishing a routine can help in reducing anxiety and ensuring that the ostomy doesn’t interfere with daily parenting duties.
  2. Educating Family Members: Open communication with family members, especially children, about your ostomy is important. Explaining in age-appropriate terms what an ostomy is and why it’s needed can help in easing curiosity and building understanding within the family.
  3. Diet and Nutrition Considerations: Certain foods can affect ostomy output, so it’s important to be mindful of diet and nutrition. Keeping track of foods that agree with your system and those that don’t can help in managing your ostomy more effectively.

Balancing Parenting Responsibilities

  1. Time Management: Balancing the demands of parenting and ostomy care requires effective time management. Prioritizing tasks and possibly seeking assistance with certain chores or responsibilities can create more time for ostomy care and quality time with your children.
  2. Physical Activity and Play: An ostomy doesn’t have to limit physical interaction with your children. With proper ostomy care, most physical activities and play can still be enjoyed. However, it’s advisable to be mindful of activities that might impact the ostomy site.
  3. Emotional Support and Self-Care: Taking care of your emotional health is as important as your physical well-being. This might involve seeking support groups, counseling, or dedicating time to activities that promote relaxation and well-being.

Managing Social Situations and Public Outings

Navigating social situations, like school events or family gatherings, requires some planning. Packing an emergency ostomy care kit for outings and being aware of restroom locations can alleviate stress. It’s also helpful to wear clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident.

Accessing Ostomy Supplies and Resources

Having the right supplies is critical for effective ostomy management. Exploring resources where you can shop ostomy supplies that suit your specific needs is important. Online stores can offer a variety of products, making it convenient to find the right supplies that help in managing your ostomy effectively.

Traveling with an Ostomy

Traveling as a parent with an ostomy is entirely possible with some extra planning. Packing extra supplies, familiarizing yourself with travel policies related to ostomy care, and planning for potential delays can make your travel experience smoother.

Building a Support Network

Building a support network of family, friends, healthcare professionals, and other ostomy patients can provide invaluable support and advice. Sharing experiences and tips with others who understand can be incredibly reassuring and empowering.

Educating Children about Ostomy

Educating your children about the ostomy positively and straightforwardly helps in normalizing it. This education can also be empowering for children, as they learn about diversity and resilience from a young age.


Parenting with an ostomy presents unique challenges, but with courage, resilience, and the right support, these challenges can be navigated successfully. Establishing a routine, managing physical and emotional health, and accessing the right resources are key to balancing life as a parent with an ostomy. Remember, an ostomy does not define you as a parent; it’s just a part of the incredible journey that parenthood is. By embracing this journey with positivity and determination, you can continue to be the amazing parent you are, all while managing life with an ostomy.

About Author (Marjorie R. Rogers)

The inspiring mum of 6 who dedicates her time to supporting others. While battling with her own demons she continues to be the voice for others unable to speak out. Mental illness almost destroyed her, yet here she is fighting back and teaching you all the things she has learned along the way. Get Started To Read …