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“Sorry, honey, Mummy’s not feeling great…”

Wednesday, 22 August 2018  |  Mummy and Little Me

Parenting with a chronic illness

 

“Sorry, honey, Mummy’s not feeling great…”

 

I’ve had to say this to Izzy far more than I would have liked. I’ve had a bad back for years, but just put it down to a few bumps and inheriting it from my dad. Chiropractors, physios and massage appointments were regular on my calendar. When I was pregnant with Izzy I ended up on crutches because of the pain, but no one thought it was anything untoward.

 

When it didn’t improve after I had her, I went to a new chiropractor. A few appointments in and my regular chiro was on holiday, so I saw someone else. A chance conversation lead him to suggest I saw my GP, and after discussing the issue with them, it was decided an MRI was the way forward, and a rheumatology referral. To cut a long story short, I was finally diagnosed with a condition called Axial Spondyloarthritis (ASpA, for short), after nearly 15 years of pain. It turns out this was also the cause of various other things that had been going on, and the reason I never really slept well and felt tired a lot.

 

Whilst it was a relief, it was also quite a worry. How would I cope with this and an active toddler? What if I’ve passed it to Izzy? What if my back begins to fuse and I become disabled? (This can happen with ASpA) As it’s a chronic condition – it has a significant effect on your daily life, e.g. causing fatigue, pain, and weakness – it’s also incurable. A week before Christmas, it was interesting timing too!

 

So far, I have been lucky. My husband is incredibly supportive and understands when I need to rest, and picks up the slack when I am having a ‘flare up’. It does make me sad that I can’t be down on the floor all the time with Izzy playing, but she seems to understand that Mummy has a few limitations. She also rubs my back sometimes too if she knows it’s hurting. Mum-guilt is prevalent in most (if not all) mums, but add in something that stops you being the mum you want to be you end up feeling even worse.

 

Whilst this blog does sound incredibly self-indulgent, I just want to reassure people that if life throws you a curveball, it is possible to adapt. I also wanted to raise awareness for invisible disabilities – whilst people may seem ok on the outside, they may be suffering from something like ASpA, Crohns, or ME. People might think I’m being lazy or a bad mum, but realistically there are some things I simply cannot do. Always remember the bigger picture.

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