Being a mom…with an autoimmune disease can be an emotional rollercoaster.
Being a Mom…With an Autoimmune Disease and Mourning the Mom I Used To Be
I used to be an incredible mom. I was a hands-on homeschooling, field trip taking, adventure seeking, build a fort, get dirty at the park, dance in the rain, paint outside the lines, reading a book after bedtime, laugh til your belly hurts – kind of mom.
Then my health slowly, then quickly, deteriorated until I let it steal so many of those things from me. When I hit my rock bottom, I was scared. I did not know what to do. I felt lost. I barely had energy to do the basics each day, let alone go on a field trip or be super mom. I felt like a failure.
During the first few months after I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, I mourned the mom I used to be. I wondered what value I had as a mother anymore.
Realizing I Am Enough
As I began to heal, I focused on developing a positive, growth mindset. I realized my kids did not need the mom I used to be. They did not need the type of mom I saw on Pinterest either.
They just needed me. Simple, lost, chronically ill, imperfect me. They simply needed my continued love, support, gentle assurance, and guidance.
My Father in Heaven blessed me to be their mama. Not anyone else. Me. He also blessed me with the experience of having an autoimmune disease, and all of the opportunities it holds.
I trust my Heavenly Father. I have faith in His will. I choose each day to let Him lead me, guide me, support me, uplift me, and calm my troubled heart.
It is okay if I feel I cannot do this thing called motherhood on my own. I do not have to. I can lean on my Heavenly Father, and my Savior. If I let Them, They will strengthen me and help me become more than I ever thought possible.
Benefits of Being a Mom with an Autoimmune Disease
When I step back, and look at the way my life has changed, and the way I have changed as a mother, I can now see and understand I am still an incredible mom. That never changed. Sure, motherhood, for me, may look different, but that is okay too. I can now identify many benefits of being a mom with an autoimmune disease.
Focus on what you CAN do with your children
While I may not be able to go on as many field trips with my children as I would like, I found many things I can do with my children, even during an autoimmune flare.
Let Go of Any Guilt and Celebrate the Victories
As I continue to heal and feel better, I am able to do more and more with my kids. I took them to the park three times this week. I cannot remember the last time I took them to the part that many times in one week. On the last of the three days at the park, both my kids told me how they can tell how much better I am feeling.
As I lay under a shady tree at the park across from them, I was overcome with emotion. It breaks my heart that my sweet kids had a front row seat to my illness and saw, more than anyone how sick I had become. I wish I could take that from them, but you know what? They also had a front row seat to my healing, and to my come back.
My children saw, more than anyone else, how hard I worked, and continue to work, to heal. How hard I fought, and continue to fight, to get my life back. They were looking on as I learned to cook cleanly. My kids watched me as I struggled to overhaul my food and drink choices. They saw me, barely able to get out of bed at times, and now they see me get up every single day.
My kids are homeschooled, so they saw it all. They saw the role self care and nutrition played, and continues to play, in my recovery. They saw my unwavering faith in my Father in Heaven, and in my Savior Jesus Christ. I am sure they will never forget it.
I showed them how to fight like their lives depended on it. And you know what? I would not take that from them.
So, you keep going. Let go of the guilt of not being able to be the mother you wish you could be. Do not dare compare yourself to anyone else – even to the mother you used to be. Simply be the best mother you can, and you keep showing your kids what you are made of. It may not seem like it now, but your hard work and effort will all pay off.
To read a little more about my story, click here.
For more autoimmune disease support, I love this website.