Adjusting To Life As A Chronically Ill Mother
Last updated: June 2019
When we chose to start a family, we weren't in the most ideal of situations. At the time, we were living with my dad. I had recently been made redundant from work while on sick leave and recovering from a very bad flare up of endometriosis. Danny had a good job and we had a lot of hopes for the future, but, for me, really, the only way was up!
My pregnancy struggles
We knew it wouldn't be easy and we weren't even sure it would happen at all, but, we decided to try. And that age old tale of "pregnancy cures endometriosis" was, admittedly, firmly lodged in my mind. Besides me knowing full well that it was a myth, I still hoped that pregnancy might in some way improve my symptoms.
The whole trying to conceive part wasn't as simple as we had hoped. We found out that my endometriosis had caused irreparable damage, I had a blocked fallopian tube and I wasn't ovulating. But, we kept going. We set up a home, decorated a nursery and after 2 fruitless years (and a lot of tears!), we began IVF. We ended our single round of treatment with all our hopes pinned on our 1 tiny blastocyst. But, it worked.
The pregnancy wasn't easy and I spent much of the time back and forth to the hospital in dreadful pain. Thankfully, he arrived safe and sound and flipped our entire world on its head. Our beautiful baby boy.
I wasn't afforded much time before my body started causing problems once again. I was 4 weeks postpartum when my periods returned and after 9 months off, they were hellish! Over time, I had a lot of other health problems arise and gradually my health has declined to a point worse than where it was when we started.
Trying to balance being a new mother with ill health was challenging to say the least. Caring for someone dependent on you 24/7 when you are, most days, unable to care for yourself was very difficult, and this also had a knock on effect with my mental health. I soon realized that motherhood for me was never going to be the same as it was for others.
Finding ways to adapt
With my body against us, we had to find ways to adapt our situation.
I have learnt to focus my energy on my own family. I try not to worry about what others are doing and what we could be doing. We have all had to learn to cope with the eventuality of me going in to hospital. I now plan for these times (just in case) After 4 hospital stays in the past year alone, I have learnt how to support our boy through these difficult times. I have found new routines to help with managing our home. This has been easier on my health, giving me more energy to do other things. And on those rare 'good' days, we make the very best of it.
Parenthood is one big adjustment. We just have to make slightly bigger adjustments.
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