Being A Mother With Chronic Illness
Being a Mother was never meant to be easy but being a mum with Chronic illness is particularly difficult and comes with it’s challenges, one’s I never expected I’d face in my life.
As a young child I always knew I wanted to be a Mother. This was my plan, I wanted to raise a family and have quite a few children. As a teen I joked about having a little rugby team of kids and after marrying young I did all I could to try and get pregnant.
I didn’t get pregnant the way I wanted. It took many years and tests and Sylvia was born as a result of fertility treatment. I’d considered donor egg treatment, adoption and IVF. Sylvia was a result of IUI treatment and she was my miracle child. I was so excited when I finally became pregnant almost 8 years after I first began trying for a child.
Daily injections and blood tests to stimulate my eggs and all the embarrassing tests and procedures were well worth it to have my little baby girl.
Once my child was born, I planned on returning to work as an early years teacher. There was a room for infants and I hoped to take Sylvia with me. She would get free childcare once I returned to work. However things did not turned out as planned. I wanted to be a stay at home mum and decided to take a year of maternity leave.
Before the year was out my life had been turned upside down. I had separated from my husband, become a single mother and I decided to take Sylvia travelling with me. We travelled to Europe, Paris and London and then visited family in Yorkshire.
I decided to settle in England, my country of birth and be a stay at home mum until Sylvia was a little older. I also began to suffer from tiredness and fatigue and hoped this would be temporary. I planned to eventually go back to working as a teacher and providing for my little girl.
Eventually I met John my current husband and in 2013 we married. Sylvia was five when John became her step dad and in a matter of weeks after the wedding I was in hospital being diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency.
My life (Our lives) were turned upside down. For some time I could not do the things I needed to do as a mother. I had to depend on John to do so much. So much I had taken for granted was taken from me.
-Being able to walk my child to school.
-Attending school events and parents evening.
-Cooking for my child
-Going on walks and adventures
-cleaning the home and organising
Just the simple things were no longer easy to do. I didn’t have the physical strength and life became a game of picking and choosing. Pick what is most important and give up the rest.
I hate not taking my daughter to school. I hate not being well enough to walk the distance. However I am slowly coming to terms with the fact I am not a “normal healthy” person. I have chronic illness. I’ve had the opportunity to trial the adrenal pump and I know it has improved my quality of life somewhat but there are still things I cannot do.
Having the pump allows me to have a little more energy and time for my child and I hope in future I can do more, but chronic illness robs you of so much and for three years I’ve struggled to accept I cant be who I want to.
I have to learn to be a Mother with chronic illness. I have to learn to manage the best I can with support.
One question I have is – Is it okay to have a second child? If I struggle, does that mean I should not have another daughter or son? Does having disability mean I can not provide a loving and wonderful home for another child? Does being unwell mean I do not deserve to have a second baby?
I really don’t know the answer to this. Maybe one day I might have a second child. Maybe we could adopt a child as I can’t put myself through another pregnancy- not with Adrenal Insufficiency. I know I’d be a great mother and I’d love any child of mine no matter how many or how they arrive into my life.
I think given my health we do need to be sensible…but there are parents like me and John willing to give another child a happy home and children out there needing to be adopted. Maybe this is something we could do one day- In a few years- when the timing is right?
I know being a Mother with Chronic Illness is hard work but there is no law saying I cant be a mum. Heck I am one all ready and I’d love the chance to one day grow our family if we could.
I really feel for you but applaud your honesty. Being a mother is always hard, but as a mother with a chronic illness it must be so much more of a struggle.
thanks. It can be hard but the good thing is I am still happy. I just wanted to express how I felt. 🙂
Well done for being so honest, so glad that the pump is helping a little x
thanks Rachel. It can be tough but i am strong.
This was really interesting to read, totally commend you for being so honest! xo
Thanks Nicole. it’s good to say how it really is and share my thoughts…hopefully others can relate too!
This is such an honest and real post! Thank you for sharing your story, which I know will help many.
Mummy Melton says
A really interesting read, it must be really hard for you. I think its great you’re considering adopting too
It is tough at times. 🙂
Adrenal insufficiency is not necessarily a barrier to pregnancy. I had a very successful pregnancy with type 1 diabetes, adrenal insufficiency and epilepsy, amongst other things. As with everything in chronic illness, there is a large degree of determination and mind over matter, but I’m proof that complex health issues needn’t stop you reaching your dreams.
Sarah HP says
This is such a touching post, well done for your honesty. It really makes me think that you never know what twists and turns your life path is going to take. Love to you, Sylvia and John x
Thanks Sarah. It’s true. You never know where life will take you.
Such an honest post Angela – it must be so hard to want to do these things but know that you can’t. My friend also suffers with a chronic illness and she always explains to me that sometimes for her she has to just do the things she wants to but know that she will pay for it later. I’m glad to hear that the pump is helping – you have been through and are so strong! xx
Thanks Maria. I am doing my best and yes so glad im improving.
Laura's Lovely Blog says
I think only you know will know in your heart if you can manage another child, I hope for you that you can as you quite clearly adore being a mother and I hope that you get this gift x
Thanks Laura. I appreciate your lovely comments. We shall see what happens in future.
Sandy KS says
I am glad the pump is working for you. If your husband is willing to work with you and have another child. I don’t see why you can’t. It is nobody’s business but your own.
Tamsin / Eco Fluffy Mama says
I really can relate. I’ve been suffering for as long as I can remember but it was always ‘nothing’ according to my GP. It wasn’t until after the birth of my son in 2012 that things got bad, and in 2014 my health took a nosedive. That’s what I was given a list of things wrong with me. And it really shattered my hope of having another child. Like you, I feel torn. Not knowing whether another child will make things worse and if i’ll cope. And.. if I even ‘deserve’ it. It’s a real struggle and you have my sympathies. Sending love xx
Thanks Tamsin. It is something I think about and as much as I love my daughter I have plenty of love to share with another.
Fantastic blog Angela! Immediately after reading I sent it to dear friends. You are making a real difference for women, moms or not. I was diagnosed with Addison’ s disease in 1988. My 2 sons were 9 and 11. But as you know, you have the chronic symptoms long befor you are diagnosed. First it was Hashimo’s disease in 1985. I was extremely lucky to have a wonderful family physician who put 2 & 2 together! He made an appointment for me and said I MUST be there. My life has been complicated but very happy to report all is well. God bless you and your family.
Thanks Delanna. It is tough having Addisons/ AdrenaL Insufficiency and you have had it almost my whole life. Nice to meet you.
Natalia Molinero says
You are really strong woman and I’m sure this story will help lots of people, thanks for sharing. I hope your treatments help you to get a better quality of life x
Thanks Natalia. I hope things improve too!
Windy Dozier says
Thank you for this. It’s hard to find people who have gone through what I’m going through and it’s overwhelming to feel so… alone. I’m had severe chronic pain since I was 15 and now I’m pregnant and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to do this. Pregnancy, parenthood, any of it.
oh it can be tough but you can do it with support and it is so worth it too!