5 Things I've Learnt As A Parent Living With Sickle Cell

Rapper Ali Gaspar AKA A Star shares what he's learnt about becoming a father while living with chronic illness.

Listen to Chronic, our anti-wellness podcast about living well when you’re chronically unwell. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts – just search for “Chronic”.

Alidor Gaspar, AKA A Star, is a grime artist and rapper. He’s also lived with sickle cell anaemia since birth – a blood disorder that causes excruciating pain.

This week, he’s joining HuffPost’s Lucy Pasha-Robinson on the Chronic podcast to talk dating etiquette when you live with a hereditary disease, masculinity and learning to show vulnerability when living in chronic pain and the life changing importance of good therapy.

Ali’s also just become a father for the first time. Here, he shares five things he’s learnt about being a parent with chronic illness:

1. Find the right partner. It was important for me that I got with someone who didn’t have sickle cell, so there’s a better chance that our children don’t suffer with this disease.

2. Looking after myself mentally, spiritually and physically is vital. If I’m not fit and well, it will be difficult for me to give my all to my child.

3. Communication is so important. It’s important to communicate with my wife how I’m feeling in myself so we can make childcare adjustments when necessary.

4. There’s no shame in asking for help. My wife and I are not superman and superwoman, especially with my condition – there’s nothing shameful about asking for help.

5. Get yourself in therapy. I’m a huge therapy advocate for whatever stage of life you’re in. My physical health can affect my mental health, so it’s an important outlet to be able to express how I’m feeling.

Hear more from Ali on this week’s episode of Chronic, available now on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts – just search for “Chronic”.

Follow Ali Gaspar on Twitter @AStarMusicUK

Stay tuned for more on all things Chronic by following host @LucyPasha on Twitter.

Want to reach the team? Drop us a line at chronic@huffpost.com