When Chronic Migraine & Motherhood Becomes Reality
The wonderful news I announced last spring that my husband and I were expecting a baby girl after so many years trying led to a much longer hiatus from the site than I’d expected. Nearly an entire year. As it turns out, surprise surprise, mothering took over every scrap of energy and time I’d previously had available to write, educate and advocate.
I by no means want all or even most of my articles here to touch on parenting specifically, but a desire to open up about Migraine-related mommy guilt has me ready to dip a toe back in these fine waters.
Finding additional support from other moms
I’ve had a pretty awesome Migraine support system comprised of close family, close friends, an awesome therapist and our great disease community for a number of years. But much to my surprise, I’ve actually found an awesome little mommy tribe in my own backyard. Most of them just get me and vice versa.
We all met through a support group, and I think that’s made an enormous difference in our ability to establish friendships with much less judgment than I hear exists among other mom groups. It’s been comfortable to open up about anxiety, depression and guilt in that setting. But I’ve only become close enough to one other mom in our tribe to learn she also lives with a physical chronic health condition. So getting into the nitty gritty of the way living with Chronic Migraine impacts my parenting and the sometimes overwhelming guilt hasn’t seemed like the best fit for that setting.
Migraine mommy guilt
I knew this was going to be hard. Being a parent is inherently difficult. Add challenges on top of it, it’s even harder. But I’m finding that parenting with a debilitating, chronic neurological condition sometimes wracks me with nearly unbearable guilt. It’s as though all the unresolved Migraine-related guilt has made a bonfire with the mommy guilt. And the way I perceive Chronic Migraine impacting my daughter is additional fuel to really heat up that fire. Maybe even to eventually take it to dangerous levels if I don’t continue to work through this.
I still have the same support, but even more now. In addition to the mommy tribe, I now have a friend in my town who has made it abundantly clear I should call with any need. I’ve never had that before. And I need it more than ever with sweet baby Harper to care for.
Before we were blessed to have her, all my concerns were very abstract. Now that she’s here, the stakes are so much more real.
Don’t get me wrong: I have no regrets whatsoever. But seeing this bright eyed, happy ray of sunshine every day, watching her grow and change, and having the privilege to be her mom sometimes feels like an enormous amount of weight. Knowing my tendencies, I’d find something to beat myself up about even if my Chronic Migraine went into remission. But it’s hard not to fixate on something that takes such an enormous toll on all three of us.
As with everything in life, it's a work in progress.
Which are you most sensitive to?