A Favorite Post of 2010: The Modern Mom


This is a second favorite post of 2010.  It goes to January 20, 2010.

The Modern Mom

A modern mom is
– Part breadwinner, part breadmaker
– Part teacher, part coach
– Part philosopher, part realist.

Where does Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia fit into the picture? They don’t. If my joints and muscles could talk, they would agree. About two years ago, I joined the ranks of mothers living in chronic pain.

I was thirty-two years old when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Two months later, I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Here I was, a young mother with so many dreams for myself and my children. But one day, everything changed. A couple weeks after giving birth to my now 16 month old, I woke up in the worst type of pain imaginable. Every joint in my body throbbed and my flesh felt like it was on fire. My entire body felt swelled and I felt I was dragging a five hundred pound body off my bed. I could barely stand and I could barely walk. Meanwhile, I had a small baby crying next to me and I needed my mothering instinct to kick in.

At the time, I thought it was a flu bug or some type of infection. It took me a couple weeks to be able to walk without being in the most unimaginable pain. I had scheduled an appointment with my doctor within a week. I had no idea what was wrong with my body. Here I was 32 years old, a young mother whose children needed her, and the only thing I could think of was, who would take of my children if anything happened to me? Needless to say, I was scared like I had never been scared in my life. When I finally got myself to calm down and see my doctor, I thought she would tell me I had some severe postpartum infection and that antibiotics and rest would cure me.

My doctor called me a couple days later with blood test results and told me that I had rheumatoid arthritis. I thought: “Oh my God, she had to be kidding! Arthritis was a disease that affected old people. I was too young and I had two young children that needed me, and I was just received a diagnosis for a disease that was going to put me in a wheelchair! Who was going to take care of my new baby and my nine year old?” I spent the next couple of weeks feeling sorry for myself and wondering what I was going to do now that my life was over. I vented my frustration at my husband and anyone else who got in my way.

I wanted to take care of myself and my joints would not cooperate. My sister came to visit at precisely the right moment when I felt like I was at the end of my rope. At the time, I felt like RA was a death sentence. I didn’t want to go on living with my body breaking down, and not being a good enough parent for my children. I was in pain everyday and I wasn’t even in control of my hands. I could not even hold a fork let along take care of a new baby and if not for my sister, I could not have gotten through those first few weeks with a new baby.

The first visit to the rheumatologist pushed me to the point of depression. In the waiting room, I was surrounded by elderly people using walkers, crutches and wheelchairs. Here I was in my 30s, pacing myself because of the pain, and looking at my own future. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare and after leaving my rheumatologist’s office; I cried in my car and prayed to God to heal me.

In the beginning, I thought I had accepted RA right away, but it I did not until many months later. I was depressed and feeling sorry for myself because of RA and I didn’t even realize how depressed I was until recently. Somewhere between my diagnosis and last Fall, I realized that I had to fight for myself and for my family. I had to face my diagnoses and live with them. RA had changed my life and along the way, I changed my lifestyle. My sense of humor, my determination, my faith in God, my strength, and my love for my children has forced me to see that RA cannot stop me from living my life.

According to my rheumatologist, a few days after giving birth, I had my first major flare-up which is not usual with rheumatoid arthritis since RA calms down during pregnancy. Since then, of course, my flare-ups have not been as bad. Unfortunately, I have not had a pain free day in a long time.

Nevertheless, I am still the same mother I was prior to my diagnoses. Sometimes, I wish I was a better mother and that RA didn’t limit me, but it is something I have learned to accept. I am a still a modern mom, RA and all.

I am still:
– Part breadwinner, part breadmaker
– Part teacher, part coach
– Part philosopher, part realist.

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