Being chronically ill and being a single parent at the same time is very challenging. I have to deal with questions from my daughter asking me, “Mommy, why do you always need to sleep? Mommy when are you getting better?”. I recorded a video on how I explain autoimmunde disease to her.
As well as I’m trying to explain it to her, it’s really, really hard. The way that I’m explaining it to her is a way that I’ve read somewhere on the internet and she understands. She’s 5 ½ years old right now and I’m telling her the superhero story.
My superheroes are confused
“Everybody has superheroes in their body. The superheroes are supposed to fight the bad guys. When you get a bacteria or virus, that’s a bad guy. Your superheroes will fight them, and they win. While the superheroes are fighting, you will feel a little bit sick, like when you have the flu. And when the superheroes win, you’ll feel better again.
My superheroes are a little bit confused because they think there are bad guys in my body, but what is actually happening is that all the superheroes are fighting each other. There may be a bad guy in my body, but the superheroes are not fighting the bad guy. They are all fighting each other, and while they are fighting, I am really tired and I need to sleep. I feel like I am sick, like when I have the flu. And because they’re fighting each other, they’re never going to win and, that´s why I’m tired all of the time.”
This is why mommy is always tired
I am explaining it to her this way hoping that she understands. She does ask me the question, “Well, are my superheroes confused?,” and I’m like, “No, you are a healthy young girl. Your superheroes are fine. If you get the flu, your superheroes fight the bad guys, and then you feel better again.”
Yeah, I hope that my way of explaining my autoimmune diseases to my daughter will help you. I did not think of this myself. I read it somewhere. I can’t remember where on the Internet, but I thought you know, that’s a very nice story to be able to tell where they can kinda form an image in their head of what is going on in your body.
I am explaining it to her this way hoping that she understands. She does ask me the question, “Well, are my superheroes confused?,” and I’m like, “No, you are a healthy young girl. Your superheroes are fine. If you get the flu, your superheroes fight the bad guys until they win, and then you feel better again.”
A helpful cartoon
What I have also done is shown her a video explaining all this. There used to be like a TV show in the ‘80s, I’m from the ‘80s, so I’ve actually watched that about the inside of your body, how the inside of your body works. This show can be found on YouTube and it’s called, “Once Upon a Time Live.” And there’s one about the immune system and I think it’s like a 10 minute show that’s an animation of how the inside of your body works. So I have showed her the episode of “Once Upon a Time Live” about the immune system and then I’ve told her the story about the superheroes and the bad guys.
I think she really does understand it for as far as all of us can understand autoimmune diseases. I hope my story helps you with how you explain this to your children. I would really like to hear if you have other good suggestions. My daughter was 5 ½ when I explained this to her, so maybe for other age ranges you would have other ways of explaining. If you have other good explanations for your kids, please share them in the comments.