What is it like being a mother with chronic illness?
I wish if you couldn’t spell a disease then you couldn’t have it. At age 22 I have hypothyroidism, endometriosis, fibromyalgia and I’m a mom. Some days I wish I could take a sick day but moms don’t get time off even though we sometimes work time and a half. It is hard to say which disease effects me most. Every day is different and I never know how I am going to feel when I wake up. Most days I wake up feeling tired, like I never even slept. It’s common to feel like days run into one another and it seems like a week long day. My husband and I decided to start our family while we were young because I had heard fibromyalgia gets worse as time goes on.
My biggest fear about being a “sick mom” was not being able to keep up or being in to much pain to play. I figured this is my prime so the best time is now even though I wasn’t diagnosed with hypothyroidism for another year. The news hit me hard and I got a few days of the pity train depression (TM). Now I have to take medicine for the rest of my life, indefinitely. However I soon realized the blessing in disguise, that medicine made me feel better so I was a better mom.
By the time my son was a year I felt great. Giving birth seemed to make my fibromyalgia go dormant and my thyroid meds gave me energy. I was the mom I always wanted to be, always on the go…then life happened.
By my sons 2nd birthday I started to get inexpiable pain in my gut. I would be doing dishes and fall to the ground screaming like a cow that was being branded “sick”. A trip to the doctors office and a surgery later I was diagnosed with endometriosis. The trifecta, the perfect storm, and every other clique for three strikes and your out. After giving birth to my miracle baby Payton my fibromyalgia woke up as quick as it had fallen asleep so many years before.
The hardest part about being a “sick mom” is not allowing the tired grumpiness turn into impatience with my children. If you have ever stepped on a Lego, got kicked in the ribs, or bit by a dog imagine that pain and a toddler screaming repeatedly “I’m hungry!” Then you would understand how difficult it can be to keep your tone and your cool. However having children has helped me with the challenges of the diseases in amazing ways! Staying active is important when you have an autoimmune disease and kids will definitely keep you active. Believe it or not being on the go can sometimes help ease joint pain. Also it goes without saying the joy children bring help your morale and takes your focus off of yourself and your discomforts. Being a mother with chronic illness has taught me how to be selfless and my children how to be compassionate. Leading a life where you serve others is therapeutic. However mom remember balance, you do have limits and extra needs because of your condition. If you don’t take care of yourself then you can not take care of others.
So what do I do when I have reached my physical limits before bedtime with kids?
*Pray. Prayer is my number one medicine. God is a great and mighty healer and he says you have not because you ask not. Let your request be known unto the lord. Ask for help in Jesus name!
*I communicate with my kids. I am honest with my children and I have explained to them, “Some days mommy doesn’t feel good and I need you to be on your best behavior to help mommy feel better.” I do my best to encourage my children to be compassionate and think of others needs. It is the silver lining of my disease to see the character it is building in my children to be thoughtful and considerate of others.
*To do lists for later. Ever want to remember everything you need to get done? Easy have a fybro day! Make a to do list of everything that stresses you out and let it go. This is very hard especially for people who are battling with control issues or perfection issues like I can some time wrestle with…but you just have to L-e-t I-t G-o!
*Take it slow. The housework will be there when you feel better so take a break and lay on the floor and play with the kids. It can be as simple as rolling around hot wheels saying “VROOM VROOM” You go this mom you rock.
*Ask for help. Sometimes there is no one around to ask. If that is the case I ask my children for help. I keep there mind busy on doing special chores and missions and it works great, for a while. If someone is around then I admit that I need help and ask for it. Sometimes we let our pride get in our way and ultimately its our kids who will suffer from our pride.
If you have any questions or need to talk please feel free to contact me! My contact information can be found on my contact page that can be located on the navigation bar. Thank you and God Bless.