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What It's Like to Be a New 'Chronic Mama'

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A year ago today, I stood in my bathroom staring in disbelief at two pregnancy tests marked with two lines. I had my boyfriend take me to the store so I could buy four more. Six positive tests later, I was scared. I knew that some of the medications I took to control my conditions would be harmful to a pregnancy. I had to be absolutely certain that there even was a pregnancy before stopping them. There was always the possibility that the tests were wrong. So, into the emergency department I went.

You’re probably thinking that’s a bit much. Sure, if you’re a “normal” healthy person it would be. For me, I needed lab tested evidence. I didn’t even think I could get pregnant. The on call doctor in the ED was just as rattled as I was when I showed him my Ziploc baggie of tests after reviewing my health history and the medications I was taking. He agreed we should do a blood test and gave us an hour timeline for results.

Exactly 40 minutes later, he came in the room and sat down in the chair next to my boyfriend. There was a few moments of silence before he looked at us and said, “You’re most definitely pregnant.”

This, this is when my adventure as a “chronic mom” began. I worried how I would be able to take care of a tiny person completely dependent on me when at times, it felt I could barely take care of myself. What if my child inherited my disorders? Would they resent me for carrying them when I knew they might have a life filled with doctor appointments and pain? One by one those worries went on the back shelf of my mind after each appointment that confirmed he was OK. My uneasiness gradually dissipated with each kick or set of hiccups. I eventually realized I had managed to continue on with my life despite my issues, and if I could, then he could too. If anything, I would be able to support him knowing how it feels to be chronically ill.

About 37 appointments later and nine months, I gave birth to my son via cesarean. My pregnancy was not easy by any means, however, there is nothing I would change about having him.

He gives me purpose and courage to pursue my treatments, take my medications and undergo procedures. Having him acted as a catalyst for me to want to better myself from the inside out.

He’s gone with me to numerous doctor appointments, I’ve had labs taken with him sitting on my lap. He’s played in my arms while I’ve undergone IVIG and he’s cuddled me when I had aseptic meningitis.

I know it won’t be easy being his mom. There will be times I cry when I feel my health has let him down. There will be moments of grief when I have to let my family step in and help with him so I can heal.

There will also be so much happiness, for every time he gives me a gummy grin, somehow, I feel healed.

Getty image by natalieozog

Originally published: October 27, 2018
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