I admit it, I’m struggling as a mum. Actually I feel like I have been struggling since my baby was born. Let’s step back for a sec; I had a pretty straightforward pregnancy, just the usual nausea, heartburn ,etc. When my baby was born, as any first-time mother will tell you, my world was turned upside down. As hard as it was, and still is, I think what I struggle the most is being sick (in pain or any other symptom is on that day) and being an attentive mum.
I always wanted to be a mum and I had so many expectations of what I could do with my daughter. Then reality hit, and I found myself struggling to get to the end of the day. Yes, because being a parent doesn’t stop when you are sick , especially if you don’t have people around you that can support. It’s just me and my husband, who obviously goes to work 5 days a week, sometimes even more. So you find yourself doing things you promised you would never do, like putting the tv on because you just can’t keep playing or doing whatever it is that your daughter wants to do. Or screaming at her, when really, she is just being a toddler. And then you feel awful because you never wanted to scream in the first place. So how did I survive?
If I can give any advise to new mums with a chronic condition (and without) is to be gentle on yourself. You are gonna make mistakes and you are going to compromise but as long as you balance a bit of everything, your kids will be fine. The less I stress, the easier it is to manage our days.
I tend to plan as much as I can, like the food we are going to eat, the outings we are going to have, the things I need to do for myself (don’t get excited, like cleaning the house) and then I’ll go with the flow during the week. Meaning, if I’m ok I can just follow my programme; if I’m not feeling fine I’ll go with plan B, basically survival mode. For example, we watch a movie, play a game in bed (we use flash cards for shapes, letters and numbers), we read a book or I just sit in her room while she makes me pretend coffee and cake. These are just things I can do while in pain but obviously everyone’s condition is different and it may be that you need to do different kinds of activities. Basically do what you can! I used to think that my daughter will regret times with me because I couldn’t do the same things other mums did but I realised as long as I’m there for her, she will love me unconditionally. Kids are really amazing!!!
Also I have always explained everything to her regarding my health situation. Obviously she can’t really understand in detail yet what is happening to me but she knows mummy has a pain in her tummy, most days; that mummy goes to hospital to see doctors a lot, that mummy takes medicine every day and that some days mummy can’t do too much because she is not feeling well. She has been a few times to the doctor with me, for things like blood tests or follow up visits. Obviously she was not there when mummy was really sick and couldn’t even stand or move or talk because of the pain. I don’t like the idea that she sees me in pain but at the same time this is our normality, so I don’t think I should be hiding it.
So why did I say that I’m struggling at the beginning? Because this is all theory but in real life some days are just really hard. And I think, even though I rationally know I shouldn’t, I still feel sometimes the guilt of not being that “we can do anything” mum. But I’m working on it. Being a parent is a never ending learning process, every day you discover new things about your daughter or yourself. And even if we have some tough days , my baby is my strength, she is what keeps me going. So good luck…but really though enjoy the good and the bad, because this is life.
“Childhood is a short season” Helen Hayes