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Motherhood and Chronic Pain

During my stay at the Mayo Clinic Pain Rehab Center where I learned how to accept and manage chronic pain naturally, I met many people from all ages who were also suffering from chronic pain.  In the beginning I always tuned out any mothers who had chronic pain because I thought my pain was too bad to ever become a mother: my biggest dream since I was a child.  When people asked me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  My response was always: “A Mommy.”  Listening to women who had chronic pain who were also mothers made me unbelievably sad as I was quite certain that dream would never come true for me.  However, I do remember so clearly one stay at home mother who was battling chronic pain and felt she was a terrible mother because she was like I was: constant pain, at the doctor’s office weekly, depressed, un-active, and felt tremendous guilt.  She once asked one of our instructors a question I will never forget.  She asked: “What choice do I make when my son has a basketball game and I have to sit on the bleachers for two plus hours?  I know my pain will intensify but I do not want to miss out on my son’s activities.”  The instructor immediately replied: “You go to his game.”  He followed that by explaining various techniques to use so the pain did not intensity but he was very clear in his answer that she needed to do what made her happy despite her pain. 

My dad, my daughter and I went to Sesame Place yesterday which I knew would be trying at times as Kayci is only two years of age, does not like long car rides, and has never once been in a line.  She is two and  two year olds do not understand the concept of waiting and patience right away.  I knew it would be crowded as it was a sunny, hot August day and Sesame Place is pretty damn awesome.  I also knew Kayci may be a little petrified by seeing Elmo, Zoey, and Big Bird just walking by.  However, I did not want to miss the chance to spend a whole day with my dad and my daughter at a place I knew she would love.  The day started out a little difficult as she awoke around five am and was ridiculously cranky.  She cried at various points on the car ride as there was traffic and she was already in a bad mood.  She definitely did not enjoy waiting in line for tickets as she was able to see pools, pictures of Elmo, and rides just ahead of her.  Once we got into the park she saw the character Zoey and freaked out.  That is when the: “Mommy miss you” comments starting come which in Kayci’s language means: pick me up and hold me.  She is thirty pounds and there were more times than I can count that I heard: “Mommy miss you please!!!!”  After an hour or two, she started really loving Sesame Place and became the fearless daughter I love but can be very difficult as she truly is fearless.  There were multiple tantrums and I was “that mom” everyone is staring at thinking: “What is wrong with that little girl?!”  However, it was a day that I will never forget and I do not regret our choice to go.  Kayci was star-struck when she met Abby. Yes, I had to hold her for the picture but she was in shock that she was able to hug Abby and touch her wand.  It melted my heart to no end watching her reaction to the characters (minus Zoey, not a fan of Zoey.) I was in heaven during those moments.  There are various live shows throughout the day at Sesame Place and I truly did not believe she would sit for any of them as she will not even watch TV for more than ten minutes.  We gave the show: “Elmo Rocks” a shot and I was floored by her reaction.  She sat on that bleacher in between my dad and I and did not move for thirty minutes.  The show was performed by, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Abby, and Big Bird.  Not only were her favorite “people” feet away but they were singing and playing music which Kayci loves more than any two year old I have ever met.  The look on her face during the show was priceless.  Her eyes were wider than I have ever seen, jaw dropped, and completely still.  The bleachers did not even bother me because I was so fixated at the amazement in my daughter’s eyes.  Priceless.  We spent a good six hours there and although I was getting tired and starting to focus on pain, I did not want to leave.  Kayci and my dad were done but I was so happy to be there I did not want the day to end.  Sharing this experience with my dad made it even better as we do not get a ton of time together. 

I woke up early this am, tired and sore so I practiced yoga for stress relief and did a ten minute meditation before Kayci woke up.  Anything is possible in this world even managing chronic pain naturally and being a mother.  No one would look at this picture and know my battles.  People would just see a very happy mother and daughter, which despite chronic pain is true. 

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