Parenting itself is a rewarding yet daunting task; however, it becomes tougher when you are raising your kid while suffering from chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia.
What is fibromyalgia?
Characterized by fatigue and skeletal pain, fibromyalgia still remains a mystery to the medical community. Typically, pain spreads throughout the body, and it is difficult to diagnose the disease and rule out other conditions. There are many theories, but so far doctors have not been able to pinpoint the real cause of fibromyalgia. It is hard to diagnose, because it is a syndrome – a collection of medical problems, signs, and symptoms.
Some researchers believed that it might be because of a variety of factors such as emotional or physical traumas, genetics, and infections working together. As such, being a parent with fibromyalgia is really challenging. One of the symptoms of fibromyalgia is fibro fog, which undermines the capability of paying attention, focusing, and concentrating on mental tasks. Patients usually experience anxiety, muscle spasms, joint pains, depression, insomnia, muscle pains, and irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. Severe and chronic pains have an adverse impact on the sufferer’s quality of life.
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia
This disease is difficult to define. It is primarily defined by its symptoms, but the cure and cause are unknown. The treatment varies depending on the patient and severity of the symptoms. There are many available treatments, which include physical therapy, home remedies, and medications. The medications that are used in treating this disease include Savella, which is used as a pain reliever; Lyrica, which is used in calming the nerves; and Cymbalta, which is used in managing the symptoms. Some other remedies include supplements and herbs, acupuncture, exercise and diet, meditation, and massage.
There are varying levels of suffering in fibromyalgia. A lot of the afflicted can become disabled from the workplace after some time due to mental and physical fatigue that they are going through. The problem that will exist with the sufferers of fibromyalgia is that there is no way that you can diagnose it immediately because there is no known definition or cause. The physical pain caused by this disease is punishing for the victim; however, because of the unknown nature of this disease, some patients are having a hard time in convincing psychiatric professionals and doctors about their ordeal. With that, it seems impossible to handle the disease let alone handle it while being a parent and trying to accomplish everything in parenthood all at once. Up to date, there is no known treatment for this illness. So, how can a parent become the parent that you want to be while living with fibromyalgia?
How to become the parent you want to be
This is the dilemma of being a parent with fibromyalgia. Parenting isn’t a request wherein you can respectfully say no and just leave. It’s a demand. By hook or by crook, you need to overcome your condition even though you have a chronic illness.
By any means, don’t ever doubt yourself or think you are not a good parent. Always believe that you are the best parent, because you really are. Maybe, you can’t attend your kid’s commitment at school or be physically present them during their recital, but still, your support and love can’t be measured by these events. Despite your condition, you can still raise a joyful and optimistic child. Here’s how to make your life easier being a parent with fibromyalgia.
Take care of yourself first
Before you can raise a superstar, you need to take care of yourself first. As per David Edelberg, M.D., a renowned pioneer of integrative medicine and an internist, said –parents must always prioritize themselves and their health. In connection with this, don’t try to make your child worry by comparing your disease with other long-term medical problems like cancer. It can cause emotional issues and bring guilt to your children.
Talk to them
Talking to your kids without them neglecting your words, as well as communicating with them with an open mind and heart, and empathy incorporated with the proper parenting strategy, is one of the most important considerations to keep in mind when dealing with your children. Having a good rapport with your kids is one of the vital elements that comprise a harmonic relationship within your family. Don’t be embarrassed to inform them about your disease. Don’t think that they are too young to deal with this. Most of the time, kids really want to know. To make them not to worry, always remind that you’re okay.
Good parenting is obtaining a connection with your children. If you have that, you will have a strong relationship with your kids that will take them away from the different scenarios in society that may affect children negatively. Connecting with your kids in a positive manner will help you in orienting them regarding your health.
Find another way for your kids
Admit or not, sometimes being a parent with fibromyalgia stops you from participating in important events in your child’s life such as fun games at family day. Don’t let that happen. Find a way so that you can join them. You can ask your friend or your husband to record your kid’s performance so that you can happily watch it later with her or him. Tell your child where she or he excels the most and why you love her or him so much. Bear in mind that quality time always wins over quantity. If you can't drive your kids to their games and practices, call up another parent on the team and ask them if they can pick up your kid. Make sure your child knows that even though you cannot be their transportation, you will do all you can to help them find the rides they need to get to where they need to be.
Every time you feel okay, concentrate on your kids
There are times that you can’t get up physically and play with them. That’s why on your good days, be sure to spend some time with them. It could be a few minutes of playing in your yard. Perhaps, if the weather isn’t that good, you can just stay inside and chase each other, kick balls, play board games, etc. But during those painful days, you can still enjoy their company. Just opt for the low-key and easy activities, which require minimal effort.
Always involve your children
If you cannot sit in on their choir practice or watch them at their competitions, don’t be sad. Instead, you can use this time planning other activities. Involve your kids in doing this. This will let your children think of you as someone they've spent their precious time with. It overrides those memories that you weren’t present at certain events. And they will happily think about the times you planned activities with them or cooked with them or taught them how to do a life task. Not only that, according to Jacob Teitelbaum M.D, the famous author of From Fatigued To Fantastic, your children can also encourage you to exercise every day. You may ask them to join you for a walk in the park or go to a yoga class.
Acceptance is always key
As cliché as it seems, nobody is perfect. Accept it or not, you are not going to be the perfect mother or father. Nobody can be the picture perfect parent or person. This goes the same way with life and being a parent with fibromyalgia. You must be willing to embrace what you have and try your best to overcome your days with a positive mind. There’s no way that any illness can stop you from supporting and caring for your kids, not even fibromyalgia. Fight it for your kids.
- Before you can raise a superstar, you need to take care of yourself first.
- It's a good idea to tell your children about your disease in a positive manner. Be honest with them, but let them know you are okay.
- If you can't make it to the game or recital, ask someone to videotape it and watch it with your child.