One of the biggest challenges for those living with Fibromyalgia is how it affects them physically and mentally. Another huge challenge is raising children while dealing with this chronic illness. This blog post will explain what some mothers who have Fibromyalgia go through and how they manage to raise their children despite having an illness that can take over their life.
The guilt is real.
Often a mother feels a lot of guilt, and it can be amplified when you have something like fibromyalgia. When we don't have the flexibility to be accessible when and however we choose, the guilt is real.
Simple things like chasing your child around the house or just getting up off the floor without being in pain. Or having conversations without being interrupted by shooting pains and getting adequate sleep regularly are all things most people take for granted. It can cause conflict within myself because one part requires me to be nurturing while the other part requires rest.
The reality is that some days you can't have long conversations with friends or chase and play with your kids because of random flare-ups. It's very hard to explain this to a child who doesn't understand why mommy isn't moving as much...or even worse, having them see you cry because you're in so much pain!
Fibromyalgia doesn't care if it's your child's birthday party tonight...it will still hurt just as much tomorrow morning! It may even get worse...which leads me back to more feelings of guilt…for making things harder on everyone else by taking time away from our family over a pain-filled weekend night. They say motherhood is the hardest job in the world...and it's true! Chronic pain doesn't make it any easier.
Explaining this to a child is quite difficult, and there are so many things they don't understand. Navigating these daily challenges requires a great deal of communication and patience.
I've found that the more I explain things to my children, and show them how much they mean to me (despite what's going on), the better our relationship becomes. The stronger we become as a family...the healthier everyone feels inside.
Dealing with unexpected challenges.
There is so much more to being a mother than just the physical aspect of it. Being able to be mentally prepared for the day is so important when you have Fibromyalgia. The daily routines can be challenging, but having a positive attitude is crucial! Fibromyalgia throws a lot of unexpected challenges at you which makes it very hard to plan for anything.
How does a mother with Fibromyalgia raise children? Living with fibromyalgia means making adjustments, from work to parenting responsibilities, to household chores, and family entertainment. So having multiple backup plans is a must! You never know when you're going to wake up in pain or have a flare-up.
A lot of mothers find it best just to take things one day at a time and do the very best they can with what is presented before them that day. You have no control over how your body will feel from hour to hour, let alone from day today.
You can find a bit of control by planning for the future, but also it's important not to stress about things that haven't happened yet or may never happen at all! This is tough advice because as parents we feel like "we should be able" to do this and that...and when you're dealing with chronic pain sometimes it can make you feel like a lesser parent.
When you have Fibromyalgia, there are good days and bad days, and it is not easy to maintain a positive attitude. Most days I feel like I can barely keep my eyes open, but when you love your children as much as I do, you will do anything for them. Our children don't know the meaning of the word "can't" so if we can maintain a mindset throughout our struggles, anything is possible.
Trying your best not to let Fibromyalgia get in the way of parenting comes with practice, and it's an extremely tough challenge! You need patience on top of patience because dealing with chronic pain can make you feel as if every part of your body is screaming at you.
Sometimes a simple touch hurts.
Having fibromyalgia adds a whole new aspect to parenting that most people with this condition don't even think about. You suddenly find yourself in situations you never thought were possible and it can be quite overwhelming at times, especially when your child is crying or upset and you're in the middle of a "flare-up" which makes it difficult for you to pick them up.
Even the lightness of a child's touch can be unbearable to someone with fibromyalgia at times. It's common to experience an increase in pain when your body is stressed, which can mean even the slightest contact with a child who isn't being gentle may cause you discomfort.
Praise God, there are ways that children and their parents or caretakers can work together to make life easier for everyone involved. There are several things you need to bear in mind as a parent with fibromyalgia:
Children generally crave affection and contact, especially when they are young. This is completely normal behavior for children at this age because it helps them learn how to interact in social situations which will help them become more comfortable with others as they grow older.
This is a great opportunity to teach them how to handle pain in others by showing them how to ask permission before they touch you, explaining the reason why they cannot touch is because of your fibromyalgia and showing them what gentle contact looks like.
There is no simple solution to this problem; instead, we must find ways to work around the pain to keep our children happy.
Your pain feels invisible
It's often called the invisible disease because it can be difficult to diagnose. Many people with the condition have a hard time finding out what's wrong and why they're hurting so much, but their pain is very real.
Fibromyalgia patients often face stigma from other people who think that this disease shouldn't hurt as bad as it does or that sufferers are being dramatic about their symptoms. Especially if they can't see any visible signs of pain or injury, people might not believe that you hurt at all.
There are several challenges unique to mothers who also suffer from this condition such as: how will they raise their kids if they feel too sick? What should mom do when she needs some alone time but her child wants attention? How does a mother manage pain during pregnancy or even after giving birth?
This requires a great deal of communication, patience, understanding...and love.Your child will need a lot of understanding too. They might not understand why mommy is always in pain or doesn't feel good enough to play outside with them, but kids can be very intuitive and yours will likely pick up on your feelings of sadness and frustration as well as the fact that you're hurting physically.
As long as you're open with them, they might surprise you by being understanding and compassionate towards your condition.
Obviously, pain is bad
Pain is a signal from our body that tells us that something is wrong. It's a warning system letting us know that we need to take care of the problem immediately or else there could be serious consequences for our health.
Pinpointing the source of pain is frustrating for those suffering from fibromyalgia; because it often isn't one specific area or injury that hurts, but rather several or even all over. It's the difference between having a stomach ache and feeling like your whole body is one big cramp.
When you have fibromyalgia it can be hard to explain what kind of pain you are experiencing because there isn't just one type of pain associated with this condition. In these cases finding good treatment options becomes even more challenging.
Not being able to live life the way that you want to hurt the most. Over time, I've learned to take things one day at a time and sometimes focus on other goals instead of having an entire list for myself.
With determination, pain sufferers can work around their symptoms to accomplish daily tasks with ease; this requires great communication skills as well as patience from those who surround them too. It also takes understanding and love!
Pain is bad obviously but mothers need support more than ever during these times- no matter how invisible or visible they may feel. If your mom suffers from chronic pain, offer her some assistance when she needs it.
It is also frustrating and inconvenient to be in pain. There are days where the pain levels are so high that I can't accomplish simple daily tasks. It can be so frustrating and inconvenient. Driving is especially challenging, checking mirror blind spots and pressing the gas pedal a certain way all cause pain!
You are not alone.
The first step for mothers with Fibromyalgia is realizing they are not alone. Many other mothers suffer from this condition and having group support is a great way to find comfort.
The second step is learning everything you can about fibromyalgia, including treatment options (which vary depending on each individual) and ways to cope with symptoms.
This is crucial because Fibromyalgia can affect mothers in different ways, such as chronic pain and fatigue (which makes it difficult to spend time with their children), or more serious symptoms like depression.
Once you've learned what works best for your body and mind, the next step is taking care of yourself; sleep well, exercise regularly, eat nutritious foods that help keep energy levels stable throughout the day and work on stress management techniques (such as meditation). Also, make sure to schedule doctor's appointments so they can check up on how you're feeling physically and mentally over time.
It may sound easier said than done but maintaining a healthy lifestyle while raising kids can be challenging especially when dealing with an illness that has no cure. However there are ways to cope with the symptoms and manage your Fibromyalgia, so you can live life to its fullest.
So remember to take things one day at a time. God will give you the heart, faith, and strength to improve your physical, spiritual, and mental wellbeing.