6am. I know she will be waking up soon, I know I will have to be in mum mode, I will have to try to push the pain to the back of my brain and hide how I’m feeling.
What types of mother wakes up on a daily basis, wishing she didn’t have to deal with her children?
– ME! A mother with chronic pain!
Being a parent is hard and physically makes you tired but when you’re a parent with chronic pain everything is twice as hard and oh so different.
Since having this leg ulcer, chronic pain has been a permanent part of my life. Chronic pain isn’t like normal pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain that has lasted longer than 12 weeks and in my case 3 years. I have pain from the moment my eyes open to the moment I finally drift off to sleep.
On many occasions I have got through a whole day on mum mode auto pilot and I’ve had to use every ounce of energy my body just to do the simple daily mum jobs.
Dealing with pain all day everyday is physically draining on your body. I see my daily energy as a cup of water.
From the get-go I will have to take away half the water as this is the amount needed to cope with the pain, this then only leaves me half a cup of energy to do all the things I need for the day.
When Ella was a newborn and was feeding at night, I hated them few
steps it took to get to the crib to feed her, I hated having to deal with the pain when I should have been bonding with my baby. I was 7 months pregnant when all the problems with my leg started and I’m sure that’s why Ella was born 5 weeks early. By the time we were allowed home the pain has definitely moved in for good.
Don’t get me wrong I love being a mum, it’s about the only thing I know I’m actually good at but having a leg ulcer was never in my plan and being a mum has become so much harder, it makes me double guess myself and wonder if I’m giving my children everything they need.
It took me a long time to accept that this was going to be my life now. I was trying to carry on with my daily life, how it used to be and that would wipe me out and cause me more pain. I still have bad days like today, when my pain is at its worst and the painkillers are not working. These are days when I think why me? Why can’t I have a normal life?
Once I had finally accepted my life had changed and I couldn’t be the same parent as I was before, I had to come up with ways to change my parenting.
Now that Ella is two and more independent, I’ve taught her a few things to make life a bit easier. For example I’ve taught her to come down the stairs on her bum next to me, instead of me carrying her.
There are area of our home that I have changed to make it easier for my children to be more independent. I have used canvas boxes on a shelving unit to house all of our shoes, all the children have to do is pull the box out. I have changed the kitchen cupboards around so the children have their own lower level cupboard housing cups, plaits and snacks.
There are things I personally do to manage my pain and make sure my children suffer as little as possible.
I plan every event or outings at least a week before hand.
I know a lot of parents do this but for me, it’s making sure everything is planned out and sorted so I can rest my leg for at least 2 days before going out to make sure I don’t over do it and be in pain on the day.
I carry a pouch of painkillers in my bag.
I take medication every morning but when we’re out and I feel the pain creeping in, I know I have some tablets to hand so the pain won’t get to a point where it ruins the day and we have to go home.
Focusing on what I can do and not what I can’t do.
There are lots of things I can’t do any more, like going swimming, but if I dwell on it I just get myself upset. However I can sit down and do painting with the children, I can play games with them, I can read with them, I can spend time watching their favourite movies with them.
Avoid certain activities.
There are some activities I know will cause me more pain and I know I just can’t do them any more. My husband does our weekly food shopping now because it’s too much walking for me and it will wipe me out for days after.
Asking for help when I need it.
This was hard for me and some times I still struggle with it. I know when I have reached my limit and need help. I am lucky enough to have a supportive family around me.
Pain is such a big part of my life and no two days are the same. Some days are good and some are bad. I am still learning new ways of coping with pain and I think there will always be new things to try.
I hope by sharing my experience with chronic pain that it will bring more awareness of it. When someone tells you they have chronic back pain or chronic leg pain, I hope you remember, chronic pain isn’t the same as normal pain. There is so much more to it and it takes away so much of that persons life.
If you have ever had chronic pain, I would really like to hear your story. Please leave me a comment below or contact me via my Facebook page. www.facebook.com/limpingmum