Spouse and Family Support for Ostomates produced by UOA for spouse and family members, especially written for those new to the ostomy experience. Those who have had years of experience as an ostomy family member may also find it valuable.
The spouse of a person with an ostomy plays a vital role in the rehabilitation process. It is important to understand basic ostomy information and the psychological impact of the procedure. Spouses may experience feelings of grief, guilt and anger. These feelings are perfectly normal and will lessen in time as both parties adjust to the ostomy.
Role of Spouse:
Your role as a spouse is one of support and encouragement. These elements are vital to any relationship and provide a basis for an emotional recovery and acceptance of the ostomy. This life-saving, body-altering procedure can affect people in different ways. How you react to the physical changes from surgery will be conveyed to the ostomate in many ways.
Watch your body language:
If you were a person who liked to cuddle before the surgery, then continue to reach out to your spouse. Couples have a tendency to “protect” each other and not be truthful about their feelings. Initiate open communications with your spouse and discuss any concerns either of you may have about the surgery (I.e., fear, anger, resentment, relief). Ask questions about changes you do not understand. Remember…the person with the ostomy has not changed, only their anatomy has. How you and your spouse accept that change will influence your quality of life.
Armed with adequate information and a positive outlook, you may find that having a family member who has survived body-altering surgery often leads the entire family to a greater appreciation of life.