The other person in the pic is sometimes me, sometimes her bonus Dad, and sometimes her friend.
I’m a Mommy.
I made the conscious decision to become a Mommy during my initial brush with chronic illness when I was 24. The docs didn’t know if what I had going on would last, if I could get pregnant, if rapidly dropping 30 lbs due to massive infection would affect my fertility or if fibromyalgia would hinder my chances of fertility in the future.
With my husband at the time, we made the conscious choice to go off birth control in order to have a child and also the side effects of birth control were becoming too much of a burden. Hormonal birth control causes massive massive massive migraines for me.
I found out I was pregnant the day I was released from the care of my infectious disease specialist.
I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. My migraines went away, my overall pain diminished, I actually felt better until late in the third trimester. I did continue some medications for fibromyalgia and depression, namely zoloft and ambien.
I gave birth to a healthy daughter during a short and uncomplicated delivery. No side effects of taking medication during my pregnancy were noted, other than she was extremely calm during the first few days. And she has developed into a vibrant, curious, extremely intelligent little girl.
I knew going in that she wouldn’t have a “normal” childhood. But who has a “normal” childhood? I knew that I had chronic issues, as did her father. I adapted when she was an infant, with schedules, home routine, etc. My parents helped tremendously. I don’t remember her first three months, but I hear they were fantastic.
As she grew, I just adapted along with her. I found a job that wasn’t physically exhausting and with flexible hours. As long as I could physically corral her, with baby gates and such, I was ok. She has always been in the lower precentile for weight, despite a voracious appetite, so it has never really been a problem of carrying or lifting her.
I was just smart about it. Always having a stroller so I didn’t have to carry her around. Always keeping her busy if we went places, having snacks, toys etc.
When I split with her dad, my parents took on a greater role in helping to raise her. We split when she was 2 1/2. Since we live in the south, there is more of a chance to do more physical activities. My dad takes her on bike rides, my mom swims with her. All summer. The kid is a fish. My newly minted husband also is very physically active and takes her swimming, walking and to the playground. Most of these things I can’t do. Especially now.
Since I started taking methotrexate, I really can’t be in the sun. I really have no tolerance for the heat period. And my daughter knows and accepts it.
She really had no concept of the fibromyalgia because she was born into it, but she knows with this latest development. And she is a typical kid about it. She adapts. She is flexible. And I am so proud of her.
In a way, it has brought us closer. I am forced to be at home all the time. I don’t leave because I can’t drive very much. I wake her up, I put her on the bus, I’m here when she gets home.
We have “girls night in” a lot where we cuddle on the couch and watch movies. She understands that I can’t go out to the park or to swim or to ride bikes with her, she keeps that as the time with her grandparents or her bonus dad.
She is so smart. I have explained to her what is going on with me in the most basic way possible, since she is very curious, and being in a family of nurses, we just can’t help it. She doesn’t ask many questions, but when she does, I’m honest.
Her zest for life, her sense of humor, just her being her is what keeps me going through all of this. I love being her Mommy. I love watching her grow and learn and explore. I love sharing my joy with my husband (who has a son, and all of this girl stuff is new to him) and with my parents who are reliving my childhood through her.
Would I like to be rid of the sarcoid/fibro/migraines so I can do all of the physical stuff with her? Yes. Would I like to have more money so I can take her to the museum/movies/shopping? Yes. Would I like to have the weekends with her instead of in bed recovering from treatment? Yes.
But that’s not how it is. I am fortunate enough to have people in my life that have stepped up and are willing and able to be there for her and to do those things.
Sometimes when I start thinking about the situation I’m in…the inevitable circle of despair…I forget how fortunate I am. I have an amazing family. An amazing husband (which I didn’t have the first time around). And a beautiful daughter who truly is the light of my life.
My sunshine. She can always bring a smile to my face, no matter how much pain I’m in, no matter how exhausted I am. She always makes me laugh and helps bring me in to the moment. The pure joy of just being alive.