Monday, 9 April 2018

The guilt of being a chronically ill mama

Image courtesy of https://bit.ly/2HmANen

:: This column was originally posted on Endometriosis News ::


When the thoughts of having a child first popped in to my mind, I imagined a life much different to the one I lead now.

In an ideal world, a “normal” non-chronically ill world, I would have been working, providing for our family, in a home of our own and having fun times and holidays with my little family. Instead, I find myself often having to drag myself out of bed, not able to leave the house, popping pills left, right and centre, all to just get by.

It was, without a doubt, something that I thought about in great detail before we even started trying for a baby. We planned, we saved, we had our home and everything we needed. All the usual, practical things. I thought about how my health might impact our lives.

But I also had this pipe dream that pregnancy might well solve all my endometriosis problems. The old “pregnancy will cure endometriosis” thoughts that stick at the back of your mind. A pipe dream it certainly was. We tried for 2 years before we went through IVF. The pregnancy was fraught with complications. The birth was pretty traumatic to say the least. But, we got our baby, and for the first few months, life was (exhausted) bliss.

Unsurprisingly, slowly but surely, my bad health crept back in. A few aches and pains here, periods returning sooner than I thought they would, agonising tummy pains… Life as a new mother is challenge on it’s own, but throw in illness to the mix and it becomes a balancing act.

For the most part, and maybe looking in from the outside, I guess I’ve not done too badly. Of course, I’ve not done it all on my own. But our baby is a normal, happy little 3 year old boy now, and, by all means, he certainly doesn’t go without. But I often find myself over compensating in other areas to make up for all the times I need to rest instead of play. For all the times I cannot leave the house and take him out.

I think little things like going for a walk, playing in the park, having the energy for simple play at home is often taken for granted. They sound like such easy tasks for an able-bodied person. And that’s where the guilt creeps in.

I so want to be able to do all these “normal” everyday things. Not just every now and then, but all the time. I look at our little boy and I feel like he misses out on so much, all because of me.

Parenting with a chronic illness (or several) is hard work. But it sure has made me appreciate what we do have and all the things we do get to do, all the more.

You can follow my Endometriosis News column here.

S.
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