When my husband and I decided way back 14 years ago that we wanted to have children, we could have NEVER imagined that our parenting journey would have taken the twist and turns that it has.
First, we went through eight LONG years of “unexplained infertility”, to end up pregnant after one round of IVF with our son. The pregnancy was normal for the most part, EXCEPT the migraines that I had been having for the past 5 years chronically NEVER went away. The fertility doc, even said that he had thought that I would for sure have less of them during my pregnancy. But, I was one of those “lucky” prego ladies who had daily chronic migraines and could take NOTHING to ease the pain.
So after our son was born my husband and I assumed, because I was no longer on hormones, and wasn’t carrying around a 9lb baby in my body that my chronic migraines would get better over time..except they didn’t . They got worse even, which led me through the hardest year of my entire life: having a newborn baby, which I had PRAYED for 8 years, and a daily chronic migraine of a level 6-10. It was miserable to say the least. Thankfully though, with my amazing headache specialist, we were able to get me into a migraine treatment program (MHNI). Which, I have several other blog posts about that experience, if you want to learn more about THAT amazing inpatient program!
Now I’m home, MUCH better than I was, prior to my hospitalization, but still managing daily chronic migraines. And how the heck am I supposed to do this AND be a mom? Being a mom is one of the BEST things that has ever happened to me, but “moming with chronic migraines”, this was NOT what I signed up for. When I was younger I envisioned myself like I would imagine most women that want children envision…the soccer mom, or the ballet mom..BUT never the chronic migraine, wearing sunglasses inside, “mommy can’t stand loud noises today” mom. THIS. IS. NOT. WHAT I ever wanted. But here I sit, in this situation, with an amazing partner, who helps out whenever he can, taking the babe so I can rest on the “really bad” days. But, with he being the only breadwinner for our little family right now, he deserves time to himself as well.
So, you may ask, how the heck am I doing it…Most people have texted me and said you must have some sort of super human strength or something to manage a 14 month old and chronic pain. And he is a BUSY, NEVER stops moving 14 month old boy! Well, friends, the only thing I can tell you is that the ONLY way I am managing this is through the grace of God. I can not explain it any other way. I just do it, every day, day in and day out. Some days, I become the mom that I never wanted to be letting the babe watch too much Sesame Street, but on those days I’m surviving! And on survival days, I naps when he naps; or I take a long detox bath while he naps; or I do yoga and meditate.
I think the thing that overtakes me the MOST, is the GUILT. I never imagined the amount of GUILT I would have for not being the “mom” I always envisioned myself to be. I call myself a “recovering perfectionist”. Pre Chronic Migraine Emily would have already imploded from the guilt, and most likely would have had a nervous breakdown..and I am not saying that jokingling! But “recovering perfectionist” Emily is learning to manage the guilt, and reminding myself that the babe knows NOTHING different but ME and his mom just happens to have a condition that makes things a little more challenging. So, on the days I feel good, I usually do WAY too much; using up ALL my spoons, so that he can have the FULL MOM experience.
I think , at the end of the day…people who suffer with chronic conditions just have to learn how to manage their expectations of their lives very differently. This doesn’t happen magically with a diagnosis..it takes time, and for me, EVERY. SINGLE . DAY I am making adjustments to my lifestyle so that maybe one day my little babe won’t have a mom with chronic migraines. Maybe they will be managed and I’ll only have them occasionally. But for right now, I pour as much of myself into this prayed for babe every single day. And hope that one day when he looks back on the memories of his childhood, he doesn’t remember sunglasses and ice packs…but dates to Chick Fil a and “Mommy and Keaton” adventures.
Keep on fighting chronic mommas…I’m here to vent/talk/chat if you need me!