I woke up today feeling pretty crumby. I have a headache from the back of my neck to the top of my head and my stomach is very unsettled. While I’ve been talking about my children’s many health issues, I failed to mention that I suffer from my own and for most of my life. Even though I’ve been suffering for as long as I can remember, some are new diagnoses for me. I have a Chiari malformation, IBS, reflux, gluten intolerance, chronic fatigue syndrome, and some forms of dysautonomia including small fiber neuropathy, Raynaud’s syndrome, and orthostatic intolerance. I suffer from scoliosis, degenerative disc disease in a few places of my back, and have cysts all along my spine. The cardiologist also believes I have mitral valve prolapse, so I will be having testing done in two weeks. Many of these conditions cause daily pain, invisible pain, but pain nonetheless.
While some days I feel well enough to get through my everyday life with little to no complaint, there are other days, like today, when I just want to curl up in a ball and lay in bed all day. Everything exacerbates my headache: the sound of my children’s toys, my daughter screaming because we won’t let her throw food all over the place, and my husband mowing the lawn. Usually, if my husband is home, he will send me to bed to rest until I’m feeling better. I wanted the kids to be able to go out to play in the yard today, so instead, he’s outside cutting the grass. Most days he’s at work and I’m home just trying to survive the day.
I don’t believe there’s any secret to making it through days like this. As a mother, I feel like I have no choice but to keep going, especially, when I’m home alone with the children. They always say moms don’t have sick days and it’s the truth. Besides, I’m pretty sure I would have used all of my sick days up by now. As they get older, I know it will become a little easier. Already, my oldest daughter is a huge help and she’s only eight. She’ll care for her siblings and even try to take care of me.
So if you’re a mother suffering from constant pain or a chronic illness, while also trying to be a great mom, I want you to know I think you’re doing an amazing job. It’s so easy to look on social media at other moms and feel bad about yourself and the things that you feel you should be doing with or for your kids. But unless that mom is battling the same things you are, they don’t understand what you’re feeling or how hard it is sometimes to get through the day. So cut yourself some slack. If my kids are happy, I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job, and sometimes that has to be enough.