Thursday, 4 February 2016

Parenting with chronic pain

We're nearing the end of the first week of the holidays and I've pondered a lot on the difference between term time and holiday time and the effects it has on my health. 7 years ago I would never have imagined being able to have kids, let alone be able to look after them, but with pacing, planning and good support I feel I do a good job of being the kind of mum I want to be. (If you're facing the tough decision about whether to become a parent, read my post Pregnancy and M.E)

Term time and holidays are hard work. The pain and exhaustion are relentless and without respite. Both make me anxious, in different ways. However, there is a noticeable difference in pace and enjoyment between the time in school and time out of it.

During term time with a teacher husband and two kids at school everybody has to be up and awake for a certain time and the husband and kids have to be ready. There is always work to be done, homework, deadlines, stress. There is no room for error or to push my limits as there are days when I am by myself with a baby for the majority of the day.

In the holidays we can arise at our leisure, stay in bed and in pj's as long as we want. We go out on trips, they give pleasure and are good for the soul, but they are extremely taxing physically. My limits are pushed often but with my husband at home all the time I can rest more and know all are taken care of.

I'm often asked how I cope. It's very hard to know how to answer that because sometimes I don't think I do cope, today I felt overwhelmed by looking at my three little kids and thinking of all the things I need to teach them. I told myself, as I so often have to do, that my best is good enough.

It led me on to thinking about all the parents who feel overwhelmed at the task of rearing the next generation. It seems especially hard if you're tackling a chronic illness and chronic pain as well, and so I compiled a short list of how I manage to keep going each day:

1.  Not expecting more of myself than I can give.
2. Accepting that I am going to be in a lot of pain and feel terrible. 
Instead of worrying and feeling self pity, which adds to the stress. 
3. Meditationto enable proper resting and de-stress. 
4. Eating healthy. It doesn't cure, but gives me a better chance of having health than eating junk.
5. Telling people how I feelNot for their sympathy, but to let them know my limits and how I need their help at that time.
6. PacingEnables me to do some little activity each day and not a big activity that leaves me incapacitated for days after. 

Everyone will cope in different ways and it takes time to work out what works best for you and for your family. 

Are you a parent dealing with chronic illness as well? What are some of the ways you cope? Leave a comment below.