Mom Guilt and Chronic Pain

Mom Guilt and Chronic Pain
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Mom guilt is a powerful thing. It can tear your heart in to shreds and sit on your shoulders like a 6 ton elephant. Mom guilt can make you think that you've ruined your kid's childhood and possibly their lives.

A time of life your children should remember as cheery smiles and rosy laughter, they'll see darkness. All they'll recall is a tired, sub par mother who could barely get them out of the house. Mom guilt will make you believe that you're not playing with them enough or teaching them how to navigate this crazy world. Clearly they won't be smart because you're not in the kitchen with them experimenting with baking soda and vinegar. Instead of reveling in the sounds of their laughter and chaos, you shush them, crushing their little spirits. My gosh, they'll grow up to be dysfunctional adults. Well, that's all according to your mom guilt.

Truthfully, you're a mom battling the demon that is Occipital Neuralgia and chronic pain.

One day, my Occipital Neuralgia was on a terror and I was having the resulting unbearable nausea on top of horrific pain. An electrical knife was stabbing my head and dizziness prohibited standing. At the time, my then 2 and 4 year old’s thought taking a shower with mom was super awesome. I also knew a shower was all I could muster up and they had energy to burn. So, I told them to grab a few toys, we all piled in, I sank on to the shower floor, and hung my head in shame. The mom guilt was eating at my heart and my self worth was out the window. Faking a smile, I looked up at them, and that's when I saw the joy in their eyes. It was a low moment for me, but for them it was a memory made. We took that shower until the hot water ran out and they loved every second of it. They'll never know my agony and guilt in that shower. But in that moment, their smiles reminded me that I was just a mom with Occipital Neuralgia trying to do my best.

Just when my mom confidence and value is at rock bottom, I'll get a classroom report that says my kid is the first one on scene to assist when someone gets hurt on the playground. At home, my little “doctor” runs to get a bandaid without prompting when someone gets a cut. That's when I'm reminded of a huge positive that comes out of being in chronic pain. Empathy. I strongly believe that empathy can't be taught and that it can only be learned. My kids got a hard knocks lesson in the world of compassion and it's turned them in to empathetic little humans.

I don't know what the future holds for them, but what I have come to understand is that having a mom with chronic pain has taught them invaluable lessons. They've learned to fight to go forward, how to pull strength from the depths of their souls, how to smile through a painful time, how to accept people despite their flaws and limitations, how to help those in need, and how to be a warrior no matter what card you’re dealt. Occipital neuralgia may have changed how I do this mom thing, but at the same time it taught my kids a lesson no classroom or app ever will.

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