Treatments and childcare during coronavirus

Hi everyone

we are really struggling right now trying to come up with how we will be able to get support during my treatments and post op in two weeks time. We have two very small children (1 and 3) to try and look after while going through all of this very new diagnosis of breast cancer. I am in Scotland, my in laws are in England and my family is in the states. My mum has booked a flight to come beginning of June and will self isolate in a flat nearby for two weeks but until she is out of isolation we don’t have anyone who can help. What has everyone else managed in regards to childcare and support systems during the pandemic? 

  • Hello C.J.,

    I am in a similar position - diagnosed April 29, surgery was May 12. I am a single Mum to slightly older children (10, 12, 14) and my family lives in Ireland and can’t travel at moment. 

    For the first part we’ve broken lockdown and added a family of cousins to our social bubble. For my pre-op appointment with the surgeon, the children spent the afternoon with this family, and the night before surgery we went to stay there for a planned 1-2 weeks (we stayed 10 nights in the end). This was a fantastic help as I could be close to the children but my friend would whisk them away and make me go to bed for a rest. It’s bliss to have someone looking out for you. My children are old enough to be a real help, they can prepare a simple meal and help clean up (when motivated) but they still need me at times when I am exhausted or feeling sick. 

    For chemo/radio I’m going to try and manage to be based at home for the children’s sake, but it’s hard to know how much help to plan for. I’m (again) breaking lockdown by hiring a nanny (I’ve used an agency I’ve used before). So far she will come 2 afternoons until my treatment starts, then I envision I’ll ask her to come some full days. I’ve also got someone planned to come in every day for some home help and meal preparation. I suppose on the worst chemo days I’ll need another adult around 24x7 and I’ll cross that bridge then. Some of my sisters will travel to be with me, or Mum although she’s in her 70’s and self-isolating. 

    Hopefully someone else will answer who has been through the whole journey and can describe what was workable with children. 

    All the best,


  • Thanks for your response. Each family member that could help In normal circumstances is not able to due to various reasons such as being a front line worker or vulnerable themselves. Fortunately my husband is able to take on the childcare for the most part if he takes time off work but it just means I have to go through the whole cancer treatment process on my own. I feel extremely guilty putting anyone at risk of the virus to help me.