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  • Writer's pictureTina Marie


By Tina Marie Marsden - February 9, 2021

I’m typing this as 2020 is coming to an end...

What can I say? This journey continues to meet detours, roadblocks, and one-way streets. I accepted this challenge - heart failure’s potential impact on parenting - and the forever changing 'new normal' that may come along with it.

Different this year

Parenting with heart failure has been different this year. Most of that was due to the covid-19 pandemic that led to groceries being ordered & delivered through apps as we sheltered in place earlier this year. Stocking up on toiletries and everyday essentials as supplies struggled to keep up with demand. My son experienced transitions in the classroom and me in the corporate setting while we adjusted schedules and our day to day routine. Parenting with these adjustments just felt different.

Not so new normal

I witnessed so many people process loss & sickness while trying to hold it together for their children. As parents, we want to protect & shelter our children from harm seen and unseen. We witnessed schools close across the nation as online classes began. Restaurants shutdown, parks were roped off, and only essential travel was allowed. Many places of worship remain closed today.

The social, psychological, mental, and physical trauma hit home for us as it did with many families. The lack of mobility and limited exercise affected me physically. From fluid retention to weight gain, I had to incorporate new ways to stay active while sheltering in place. My son seemed to have trouble with the transition. That lasted a few weeks before we made household changes that would help us all.

Covid routines

We tend to say it’s the small things, but it really is. I caved into my teenage son’s demands thanks to covid. I am now binge-watching one of his favorite television shows with him. Lol. We cook more together and eat healthier. Communication has always been open and welcomed, but our conversations have become more in-depth while staying safe at home. Oh, and my extended family began having monthly family video calls. We connect from across the globe, and a one hour call can quickly turn into four.

A transition can be difficult for anyone, especially when brought on without warning. Parents & communities learned to adapt to abrupt changes as the term 'new normal' impacted lives across the globe this year.


Many families faced challenges that are all too familiar to those battling chronic illnesses such as heart failure. At times I even felt guilty, as though heart failure had actually given me the upper hand. The guilt quickly turned into hope and motivation.

I have been able to use what I’ve learned to help others. I focus on the things I can control, like the solution instead of the problem. For example, online school may not have been the first option but it can be a temporary solution. Understanding that when life happens, we can allow it to happen but not stay there. We are stronger than we realize, and our children are more resilient than we sometimes give them credit for. Navigating this parental life with heart failure or covid-19 can be difficult at times, but there is purpose in pain.

“Remember, the struggles along your way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.

-Chadwick Boseman

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