Hey, Supermom With Chronic Illness: It's OK to Not Be 'Super' All the Time
The day the two lines appear, either by chance or choice, brings so much happiness and excitement. You’re faced with so many new challenges and rewards that will exhaust and enlighten you. It’s the best job in the world, but having a chronic illness brings even more challenges, along with new highs and lows. No textbook or midwife can prepare you or tell you how to manage and get through some of your darkest days.
You won’t ask for help, you will feel like a failure, you will cry until you have no tears left, you will feel helpless, inadequate, and there will be days were life itself will feel impossible. And who could blame you for feeling like this? I can see it in your eyes — the struggling and fatigue, that is. I’m not judging you; I am you, or at least I used to be you.
You will feel guilt like you have never felt before. There is no benefit in self-blame, so stop blaming yourself for things that aren’t and weren’t your fault. You didn’t ask for life to turn out the way it did. You didn’t set out to be a sick mom, so get rid of that guilt. Make decisions based on your own set of circumstances. Yours is completely different to others’, so stop comparing yourself to other moms. You will learn you need to stop putting others first and take more time for you. You will learn to let what’s “supposed” to be fall by the wayside. You will learn you need to stop being so hard on yourself and most importantly you will learn the fine balance of caring for yourself while caring for others.
I found the night feeds to be one of the hardest tasks. You pry yourself away from your bed trying to calm a screaming baby while the bottle cools and the few minutes feel like forever. Everything is so much worse with very little sleep, so you hope and pray to even make it to five hours because really that extra hour would work wonders. Each day you question will this ever get easier? You would give anything to just have a full night’s sleep. Although these times might feel like they are never going to end, they do. Cherish those moments because you will miss and want that special moment of cuddling up on the sofa watching your baby fall asleep in your arms, and you will give anything to experience that moment one last time.
Moms don’t get sick leave. I’m really sorry to be the one to tell you this. You can’t call in sick — you’re on the job 24/7 with no breaks. You might be lucky enough to get a nap, but it’s hard having eyes on the back of your head all day every day. Your days are filled with changing endless diapers and clothes, yours and theirs, fighting through the tiredness, counting down the hours until bedtime. These days will get easier, I promise you. You will find new ways to cope and deal with illness and being a mom — it just takes time. It’s amazing how you learn to manage. As each day passes you do find new ways to cope and balance how you feel while being a mom. Rome wasn’t built in a day and if you look at it from that perspective, you’re on the first step in the right direction to figuring out the balance of motherhood and illness, because it all takes time.
There will be days you will feel inadequate and helpless and that’s OK. Every mom feels this way from time to time. It doesn’t matter if you’re unable to do things. Nobody’s perfect. Just because you can’t do things or be there in ways you had originally planned or hoped doesn’t mean the ways you are there are any less valuable or meaningful. Wiping the grazed knees, a cuddle while reading a story and saying the words “I love you” are the most powerful things you can ever do as a mom.
There will be so many times you feel like you’ve failed, but in the eyes, heart and mind of your child, you’re supermom.
But you do need help and that’s OK. Your strength isn’t determined by your inability or ability to ask for help. While you were struggling to juggle the balance of caring for yourself as well as others, were you like me and turned down all the help that was offered from friends, family even doctors and health visitors? You wanted to do it all on your own — why? What were you trying to prove? What did you achieve? Why do we push away help when we really need it? Chances are you wouldn’t have achieved anything. You might be exactly like me and just end up suffering more than you had to. Did you ever think maybe these people wanted to help?
I guess what am trying to tell you is being a mom with a chronic condition is no walk in the park, but you will find that balance because it’s the only choice you have in making the most out of the rubbish situation, which is having an illness and being a mom.
The children in your life don’t see you as sick mom. They just see a mom they need and love. They don’t need you to be perfect, they just need you. You’re a supermom in their eyes, but even supermoms need help and guess what? That’s OK.
Follow this journey on Life of the Inappropriate Tachy Mummy.
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