Are you a mother living with pain and trying to balance how to remain an effective parent? Many mothers, under normal circumstances, would agree that just being a mom is challenging enough in itself. A mother living with a chronic illness and pain may need every support system available.
When the pain of fibromyalgia first set in I had no idea what was happening and where my life was headed. At first, my symptoms mimicked those of a normal mother — headaches, tired, overworked. Go figure. Mothering through pain was easier to conceal in the beginning because the initial symptoms are those any mom, or anyone else, might experience. But over time the symptoms started to last longer and presented in multiples.
I still had no idea what was happening to my body. I had no idea the changes I soon would have to face as a mother. I thought I was supermom to my family, capable of doing it all. I thought something else had to be causing the pain.
Fibromyalgia and chronic illness have robbed me of valuable moments with my children. Today, I have learned to redefine those memories and, taking into account where I am in life, accept it may require defining each day. Letting go of some of the small things to enjoy the larger things has been very beneficial. For example, forgoing laundry to have a family game or movie night. I also have learned, to be honest with myself and my family. It is best, to be honest about where I am physically and emotionally, and not leave room for false expectations. Being honest allows my children the opportunity to learn how to deal with my illness and express their frustrations.
One of the most difficult aspects for me is medications, their side effects, and finding balance. I decided to keep a journal for my kids and my husband, similar to the ones kept by people who face terminal illness. I do this not because I plan to die anytime soon, but because I feel like a piece of me is dying every day. Using a journal allows me to communicate things I may be unable to say to them, or they may be unable to comprehend.
As for my spiritual faith, I ask only for guidance to be the best parent for my children as they need me. I often find I pray the pain will be less to afford me the moments I can’t get back, or in the moments they will remember most. Living with the pain as a mother often means hurting because I cannot be the mother I was before pain and illness took over my life.
“No pain, no gain” obviously was the sentiment of someone who has never had to “mother through the pain” daily.