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The Love/Hate Relationships I Have With My Chronic Pain and Parenting

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Living with chronic pain and illness is hard. Waking up every day, not knowing how I’ll feel. Will it be a good (or even decent) day? Will I be able to take care of my own needs and those of the ones who rely on me? Will I be able to do more than the very basic necessities — maybe do some housework and cook a dinner that’s not of the “as quick and easy as possible” variety? Or is it going to be one of those days where I ignore my body’s basic needs because the bathroom is so far away (the other end of the house) and the thought of walking that far bring tears of pain to my eyes?

Living with chronic pain and illness is even harder when you’re a parent. When today is one of the “bathroom is so far away” days and I feel like a subpar parent. When all my little boy wants is for me to watch YouTube or watch him play a video game, but it takes me away from my heating pad and the relief that brings, so I break down and cry. I hate that. I’m a mom and am supposed to be stronger than that. I’m supposed to be able to hide those feelings from him and be everything he wants and needs me to be.

I’m supposed to be a superhero to him.

My body has robbed me of that and I hate it. I hate that he witnesses my tears of pain and frustration. I hate it, but am incredibly thankful for those times when he sees those tears and comes up with a solution that grants what he wants and I need. He’s 8 years old, he shouldn’t have to do that. But he does and does so without a word from me.

So I hate it, but I do love that it’s causing me to raise a child with an immense capacity for love and empathy towards others. I love that he sees my weaknesses and realizes that his mom is human and frail at times. I love that by acknowledging that frailty, he sees the times that I’m able to push through the pain as much as I can and how strong I can be. Most of all, I love that he recognizes that strength and how it translates into how much I love him.

Originally published: August 7, 2019
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