The guilt of raising a child under these circumstances is overwhelming. I often force myself to smile, play, and be strong for him. To walk him a mile and a half to the playground and back, only to lock myself in my room in tears of exhaustion upon arriving back home. To play catch, legos, playdoh, color… all of the joys of childhood, joys that take so so many “spoons”. After putting him to bed, I once left his room and immediately laid down in the hallway and cried; exhausted and overwrought with guilt. “I’m not doing enough. I can’t do enough. I will never be good enough for him.”
In order to help my son cope and understand my illness, I searched the far reaches of the internet for a childrens book on Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or even just having a sick parent in general. I found absolutely nothing. Shocked and appalled at the void, I chose the obvious solution; I wrote my own! At first, the plan was just to write this new book solely for my son. However, I could not stop thinking of the millions of other children in the same situation, and the other parents, as desperate as I was. I knew something had to be done to help those families. Thus began the saga of “Why Does Mommy Hurt?”
|The Final Cover!|
The words came easily to me; I finished the text in a few days, but the illustrations… they haunted me. I. Cannot. Draw. I came up with a few pathetic sketches of stick figures, then moved on to the animal kingdom; bunnies, bears, and even turtles. In a last ditch attempt, I even tried to illustrate the book with “cute” monsters. They were not cute. They would’ve haunted any reasonable childs dreams. My illustrations were left crumpled in a pile on my desk, under a damp layer of “FAIL” tears. Then I remembered my father. I had seen his sketch book as a child and marveled at the detail of his work, and his obvious natural ability to draw. I was overcome with love and joy when he literally jumped at the chance to help me. He began working on the book immediately, and created beautiful digital illustrations for my book; inspired by the actual features of my son and I. The book was coming to life!
At that point, I decided that I WAS going to do this. One thing I’ve learned in my years with invisible illness is this: goals are my life-energy. They feed my hunger to stay alive; a hunger that often fades when faced with a never-ending stream of suffering. I have also learned that I can achieve anything I want to, as long as I don’t give up. My invisible illness has done something I would’ve never anticipated; it has made me stronger than I ever thought possible. I can now tolerate extraordinary levels of stress, pain, and suffering, suffering that would have left me in the fetal position as a “healthy” person.
|A potion of the proceeds will benefit NFMCPA|
Last year, I managed to arrange a lunch meeting with Jan Chambers, President of the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association, showed her the book, and pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds to the organization. Jan is an amazing woman; who also happens to suffer from FM. She loved the book, and has supported me ever since. “Your book will help millions!” she said. Emboldened by her words, I began a networking and promotion plan which continues to this day. Just last month, we learned the wonderful news, PUBLICATION! “Why Does Mommy Hurt?” will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as early as Summer, 2014. Dreams do come true; especially the dreams of those who truly know their value; those of us with invisible illness.
The PFM is a blogger living in Potomac Falls, VA, and is devoted to creating a world-wide community of parents living with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, lupus, and other autoimmune disorders. Follow her by entering your email in the “follow by email box” on the top left, on Facebook, or Twitter.
*I am also pleased to report that there will soon be another childrens book available on chronic pain; “Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang”, written by my friend in Australia, Megan S! Here is a link to her blog and Kickstarter campaign.
If we have to suffer; lets not bring our children with us!
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New childrens book on #chronicpain and #chronicillness! “Why Does Mommy Hurt?” http://goo.gl/0iFGvr @parentswithpain