4 Things Parents With Migraine Totally Understand
Last updated: May 2023
It’s tough having a brain that barbecues itself. It’s even more of a challenge when my brain barbecues itself while I’m parenting my 6-year-old. My migraines present a major obstacle when it comes to staying present (and out of bed) while cooking meals, helping with math equations, and playing hide-the-mom.
How many parents have migraine?
Even though I know I’m not alone, suffering from migraines while parenting can leave me feeling lost and lonely. According to studies, 12% of the population suffers from migraines.1 Clearly, there are other parents out there microwaving dinners and calling in their trusted backup. For my migraine moms and dads, I know you get me. Here are four ways you might feel my pain.
It’s not just a bad headache. Migraine pain leaves me incapacitated with nausea, vomiting, and chills — besides its classic symptom of brain barbecuing. Trying to concentrate on one task is almost impossible due to high pain levels. My fellow migrained-out parents, maybe you understand how hard it is to take care of the kids while suffering through this level of debilitating discomfort. This is when I try my best to breathe deeply, move on to step number two, and know that bedtime is just around the corner.
Screen time is a savior. While this move may not win me the Parent Of The Year Award, it does win me a few moments of coveted downtime. I make sure to have favorite movies and even a secret never-been-played app ready to go so that my little guy can be entertained while I’m entertaining myself with a cold cloth on my head. (I also have fun Dollar Store crafts ready to go.)
The constant rescheduling of activities. While I feel guilty for inconveniencing friends and disappointing my kid, I must cancel. The pain in my head won’t allow me to focus on keeping my child safe at playgrounds or having extended conversations with those parent friends. That’s when I find myself sending that text that reads, “I have a migraine. Can we do it another day?” And then the worst part is telling my son that we must play another day.
My kid knows too much about pain. It hurts my heart that my kid doesn’t always get the fun, healthy parent he deserves. There were times during long migraine runs that I wondered if my little guy would grow up resenting the fact that his mother wasn’t able to be present for him. Just when my guilt had grown higher than his Duplo tower, he’d bust out a loving truth like “You make my day no matter where you are.” I realized it didn’t matter how I was there for him as long as I was there for him.
What do I want you to know?
Parenting while navigating the depth and challenges migraine disease presents makes my parenting day feel endless. For those of you out there parenting with migraines along with me, I want you to know I feel you. Let me echo my son’s brilliance, “You make my day no matter where you are.”
Which are you most sensitive to?