As moms, we tend to get used to rolling with the punches. We learn fairly quickly that our lives are at the mercy of our children ― their activities, their moods, their health. We take them to the doctor when they catch the latest illness, but when we catch the same thing we keep functioning.
This summer I woke up feeling off. Between making my kids breakfast and getting myself dressed I started throwing up. But it was the first day of my son’s soccer camp! I brushed my teeth, slapped on some mascara and continued getting everyone ready to head out the door. I deserved a medal for putting on shin guards and soccer socks after just throwing up, but there was no one there to give me one ― there is never a cheering section for moms. We just do what we need to do. I dropped off one son and headed home with the other for a morning of TV and couch time.
The same thing seems to apply for more chronic issues. I have been dealing with some health issues, and I know many women dealing with similar things. For some reason, we have this mentality of, “Well… this is my normal. I just need to suck it up and deal with it.” However, this mentality doesn’t help anyone ― not our families, not ourselves. I eventually realized that I needed to start taking my health seriously, and now I am advocating for other women to do the same.
Acknowledge that you need to find a solution.
Most medical issues don’t magically resolve on their own. In fact, most of them gradually get worse and worse when not taken care of and treated properly. Even if you are still functioning, you probably have no idea how much this chronic issue is dragging you down. It is affecting your moods, your overall health, and your relationships. Wondering if you are going to have a good day or a bad day is no way to live your life. You need to work towards finding a solution and be your own advocate.
Find a medical professional who will help you find that solution.
After having these ongoing issues for a while, I finally found a doctor who responded to my long list of symptoms by saying, “That is not normal. You should not have to live like that. We are going to get you feeling better.” I cried on the spot because I was so relieved to have someone in my corner who was ready to partner with me to get me feeling better. But the key there is that they were partnering with me… I still needed to be a big part of the equation.
Follow through and communicate clearly with your medical professionals.
Whether you see your family doctor, a women’s health nurse practitioner, or a specialist, they can’t read your mind. It is your responsibility to report back about what is working and what isn’t ― they are not typically making those kind of follow up calls if you do not initiate them. Seeing the same professional each time is very helpful because they get to know you and your case, but I learned the hard way that I needed to stay in close contact. I gave one particular treatment six months to work… it didn’t. My doctor asked why I waited so long to get back in touch with her and encouraged me to always just follow up and give them updates about my health. This was a further wake up call that I am in charge of my health ― no one else.
Allow yourself the time to seek help and heal.
Getting or staying healthy takes time. It takes trial and error. It means a lot of phone calls and appointments. It might mean that you feel worse before you feel better. It will be frustrating. So give yourself some extra grace during this time. Cut back on extra projects or activities. Reduce as many stressors as you can, and put your attention on your health ― just like you would do if it was your child who was struggling. Accept help from those who are kind enough to offer it.
The good news is that I think I have found a solution to my health concerns. It is a bit early to tell, but so far things look very promising! Just this glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel has brought me a renewed energy and positivity that I forgot I had in me. I feel more like myself, I have more to offer my children and my husband, and we are all much happier and less stressed because of it. This is why I encourage you to keep searching for those solutions. Keep working towards a healthier you, because it makes all the difference in the world.