Part 1 in the “Parent with Pain” series; Julie Luckett Shore; JulieUnfiltered.com
If I had had full-blown fibromyalgia before having kids, I probably wouldn’t have Rachael and Zoë, my 6 and 3 year old girls. It’s an unnerving thought, one I try to reserve for only special occasions…such as the girls screeching at each other like feral cats because they’re fighting over who gets to play with Twilight Sparkle. Being a parent is hard enough without adding pain so awful that you feel like vomiting and exhaustion that makes your eyes burn and feeling like your internal organs are being smeared down your insides as they’re dragged down into your feet. It’s not fair, to any of us, that I can’t be the mother I’d like to be. It’s not fair that they don’t have a mother who always enjoys taking them outside because of how much it drains me. It’s not fair that, on some days, they don’t have a mother at all because I’m stuck in bed. It’s not fair that, sometimes, I resent the hell out of them.
It’s my dirty little secret that they don’t know and I rarely talk about with anyone. Sometimes I have a meltdown and risk exposing it. I melt down when I’m seized by pain or crushed by exhaustion or desperate because of low blood sugar or all of the above, because that’s the moment they become the loudest, neediest, most selfish, inconsiderate brats on God’s good earth. But it’s important that they never know how much I truly fail them. Rachael mustn’t know that I sometimes resent her for not being more mature and self-sufficient than she ought to be. They shouldn’t know that I sometimes resent them for crawling up in my space to snuggle, (jabbing me with their elbows as they crawl, which isn’t at all excruciating) when all I want to do is lay on my heating pad and close my eyes, read, or stick in my earbuds and watch Doctor Who. I’m still working on not resenting Zoë for not allowing me to have a good night’s sleep for 2 years because she would be up all night screaming and/or forcing me to rock her to sleep and sleep in the rocking chair. The stress of that time, I’m certain, precipitated the severity of my fibromyalgia.
All these negative feelings and experiences make all the good times with my girls all the more precious. I take hold of the happy moments throughout the day and save them for later. They help remind me just how awesome and worth it all my girls are, when running out the door screaming seems like a perfectly reasonable option. Tonight I’m sure I’ll focus on the wonderful day I had with Zoë at a local farm today while I’m exhausted and she’s losing her damn mind because she’s sleep happy. Even though I’m laying on the couch, body completely wrecked from tromping around in mud and climbing tall hills to help Zoë go down the slides, I’d do it all again- and again and again and again. Feeling like I’ve been beaten with a baseball bat is worth holding your child’s hand and listening to them say, “I love spending the day with you, mommy.”
Julie Shore is a stay at home mom who lives in Northern Virginia with her two girls, Rachael and Zoë, and husband, Mike. Fibromyalgia moved in during the summer of 2011; it’s a terrible houseguest and refuses to move out. Julie is a geek, enjoys the culinary world, and tends to go overboard when throwing a party. Julie disengages her filter and blogs over at http://julieunfiltered.com