Raise your hand if you have kids in your life? Whether they’re your own, they’re your niece or nephew, or you’re just an honorary aunt or uncle. Now raise your hand if you have a stoma. And raise your hand again if you’ve found it challenging trying to explain and/or take care of those kids with the stoma. My guess is, since you’re reading this article, you’ve raised your hand to all of the above. Now, I’m not a parent, but I am an aunt and honorary aunt to (and not exaggerating) about 26 wonderful kids. (The people I know tend to repopulate like bunnies) But with all those kids comes some interesting moments and conversations when it comes to my stoma. And I’m guessing you can relate. So, here’s a few things that I do to both kid proof my stoma and to explain it to them in a way that’s fun and doesn’t gross them out to badly.
Let’s tackle the most important one first. Kid proofing. As anyone who’s played or rolled around in grass with a kid knows that sometime those little fists and feet fly in all directions without much warning as to where they’re going to land. So, it’s important to be prepared. And I do that in several ways. One, I make sure that my pouch is fully secured. Sometimes I do this by wearing a band or belt wrapped around the stoma. Or sometimes I simply use athletic tape. But, either way, that sucker is stuck on me like the cheerio my nephew glued to his nose. I also never go anywhere with athletic tape. I keep it in my purse, car, gym bag, etc. Because you never know when your sister might call to come and grab the kids so she can get a few minutes of “me time”. It’s important to always be prepared.
Another good aspect to kid proofing is make sure before you go over to where all the children are, you empty your pouch. There’s nothing like a kid running in for a hug and hitting you right where it counts, and I’m not talking down there. And I would definitely make sure you’re keeping it empty as often as you can, without being that weirdo who’s always disappearing to the bathroom. Cause like adults, kids talk.
Once you got the kid proofing covered, it may be good to have a backstory as to why you’re packing a pouch on your abdomen. Mine actually has turned into a fun little game with the kids. The first time they saw it, I told them that I used to be a snowgirl before a magical princess turned me into a real girl. But, if it gets to hot, I can still melt, so the bag helps catch all my magical water. (Obviously they know I’m not really a snowgirl.) And that has kept the questions at bay and has given hours of devotion to making sure auntie stays as cold as possible. This actually works out great in the summer because you basically got your own hoard of little fans. (Pun intended).
Whether or not you have just one kid or 50 kids in your life, you shouldn’t have to stop living it to the fullest with them just because of your stoma. It’s not always easy, but it’s so worth the extra effort. Just make sure you got your ducks in a row otherwise you’ll be the goose.