Stuck Between Baby Fever and My Worries About Pregnancy With Fibromyalgia
When I had my first daughter, my fibromyalgia was still in the early stages. My second pregnancy brought on some of the worst pain I’ve experienced and it’s still with me. I had to sleep sitting straight up on the couch, my arms, shoulders and head propped up just-so. Walking was torture. Going around the block was a challenge that would wipe me out for the rest of the evening. The exhaustion was all-consuming and I gained a lot of weight. My unmedicated birth was nothing compared to the nine months of hell I had endured. That was in 2011 and my body never recovered. Fibromyalgia had taken over.
I thought I had accepted the fact that we would never have any more children. Not only was three a crowd, but I never wanted to be pregnant again. I can still feel my misery and cringe at the memories of that pregnancy. I felt so confident in my decision I almost had myself sterilized. Almost.
I am 34 years old and have discovered a new invisible illness. I have chronic baby fever.
I want another child so desperately just seeing a baby can bring tears to my eyes and knots in my stomach. A common question in my fibromyalgia support group is: “Should I go through pregnancy and have a baby, or is it too difficult with chronic pain?”
Do I really want to put my body through that again? Could my body even handle pregnancy? Do I have the energy and capability of caring for another child? Would it be selfish to have a baby and deprive it of a healthy, active mother?
I know I’m not alone in my predicament, weighing the pros and cons, wondering how much of myself I am willing and able to sacrifice for another little human being. I can’t work as much these days, I struggle to maintain my home and remember everything for my two older children. Would I sleep through the night, oblivious to my newborn’s wails? What if I fall while carrying the baby? What if my hands don’t want to work and I can’t pick him up? What if it’s just too hard?
We pain warriors give up so much. We endure agony on a daily basis all the while pushing through work, parenthood, relationships, etc. Am I really ready to give up even more to raise a child?
Here’s my conclusion: Only we can know what our bodies and minds can handle. We are true fighters, fierce and strong, the strongest people I know of. And though my second pregnancy was agonizing, and raising two kids is physically draining, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have and will always endure the worst pain for them, and if I had to do it again, I would, because love is greater than pain. I am not ready to let fibromyalgia rob me of motherhood.
Getty Image by AndreyPopov