Parenting{ish} – Parenting With Chronic Illness

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Photo credit: Ian Livesey / Foter / CC BY-NC

It is my privilege to introduce y’all to my first guest blogger on this here shiny, new blog.  Her name is Tia from Becomin Neurotic and she is a lovely creature of awesomeness.  She is kind, generous of spirit and is a constant source of encouragement and positivity.  She also has RA.  She hangs out in the ish with us and agreed to make herself vulnerable here in front of all the gods and all of you.  Which takes major cojones and a wealth of strength.  Lucky for us this wonderishmama is fully stocked with both.  Welcome to her ish.

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When Joules asked me to share some of what it’s like to parent with chronic illness, I agreed, even while I was unsure. But I believe in writing honestly, so here I am to share what it’s like to be a mom who’s sick.

I am a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes we can’t always see that reason, but it’s there. So when, following our divorce, my ex-husband moved 2000 miles away with our toddler son, I was heartbroken. I couldn’t see any rhyme or reason then, and struggled with the separation for a very long time. (For the record, there is a custody agreement, he didn’t kidnap him or anything like that.)

Then three years ago I was diagnosed with severe sudden onset Rheumatoid Arthritis. For the first six months, I was on steroids while we fought to reduce the pain and swelling that had overtaken many of the joints in my body. My hands were near useless and my feet could barely carry me to the bathroom and back. My days became full of pain, fatigue, doctor’s appointments, and many different medications.

I could barely care for myself, let alone anyone else.

And I saw some reasoning.

As much as it hurts my heart to not have my son here, as much as it sucks to miss out on SO DAMN MUCH of his life, I would absolutely hate for him to see me like this.

While we now have a better handle on things, it is a progressive disease. I still flare 1-2 weeks a month, and I am on intensive immunity suppressing medications. There is no “get better.” There is no cure.

As a mom, would you spare your children all the ugliness there is in this life, if you could?

I would.

And so, even though my son is now a teenager, and could actually choose where he wants to live, I’m happy he is with his dad.

He spends his summers here visiting us, and my fiance and I do all we can to minimize my disease. I don’t believe in lying to my son, so he does know I am sick. But we try to hide as much as we can. I do not want to be the reason my son lies awake at night. I do not want him to worry about death or disease. I want to shield him as much as I can, for as long as I can.

One day he will be an adult, and he’ll know the whole truth. I want him to look back and treasure the memories we made, without ever thinking his mom was too sick. I want to show him all the beauty and love there is in the world, without showing him the reality of living with a chronic illness. And yes, selfishly, I want him to look back and see me as strong, instead of how incredibly weak I feel.

When I held his tiny little body within my own, I promised him I would always keep him safe. It’s there from the very first flutter of baby kicks, or the barest hint of a heartbeat other than your own. We mothers hold our hands over our growing bellies and pledge to protect this new life to the death.

And so I will protect him and keep him safe, even if the thing I’m protecting him from is me. I will do everything in my power to make sure he gets to be a kid for as long as possible. I will sacrifice much if it means he gets to live a life full of love, light, and happiness; a life free of worry and heartbreak. I will show him beauty so that he can always carry it with him, even after he must face the harsh realities in life.


Wouldn’t you do the same?

Tia

Tia has a background in psychology and customer service and is the author behind BecominNeurotic. She is the mother of one amazing teenage son and one angel daughter. When RA made it difficult for her to work a conventional job, she made it her mission to help others battling chronic illness. She volunteers regularly and is co-founder of Spoons 4 Spoonies, an online community that offers support for patients battling chronic illnesses like RA. Starting in November, you can find her as a contributing writer on RheumatoidArthritis.com.

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Tia

1 Posts | Member since 2014-10-15
Tia has a background in psychology and customer service and is the author behind BecominNeurotic. She is the mother of one amazing teenage son and one angel daughter. When RA made it difficult for her to work a conventional job, she made it her mission to help others battling chronic illness. She volunteers regularly and is co-founder of Spoons 4 Spoonies, an online community that offers support for patients battling chronic illnesses like RA. Starting in November, you can find her as a contributing writer on RheumatoidArthritis.com.

  9 comments for “Parenting{ish} – Parenting With Chronic Illness

  1. Tia
    October 16, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Thank you so much for having me, and for sharing my story, lovely lady <3
    Tia recently posted…VitriolMy Profile

    • October 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you for being you!

  2. October 17, 2014 at 11:58 am

    What a beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it here.
    TripleZmom recently posted…My Day As A Reality TV StarMy Profile

  3. October 25, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Wow thanks for sharing. All I feel radiating from your post was incredible strength. I imagine you don’t feel it when suffering illness. But its there all the same. I’m in awe x
    Sian recently posted…Sometimes it’s good to wait a bit…My Profile

    • Tia
      October 27, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Thank you for your kind words <3 I have great friends like Joules who show me I can be strong, even when I feel weak. And your words help <3
      Tia recently posted…I’m Grateful For YouMy Profile

  4. Karissa
    November 2, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    First off I want to thank you for sharing Tia, I know it can be difficult. My mother suffers from a slue of autoimmune diseases, lupus being the front runner, so I related a lot to your post. I completely understand your reasons for hiding parts about your dieases from him but being a child who has a parent(s) who suffers from a major illnesses, I can not help but point out that maybe one day your son will be upset with you for hiding some of your symtoms. Yes, I agree with you for wanting to shelter him when it comes to details because no one wants their child stressing out about something like this, (Been there, done that, they want them to carefree and happy. But on the other hand their comes a point where a child can feel betrayed because their parent didn’t tell them for so long. Maybe you should start sharing little bits here and there with your son now, (depending in his age and understanding level) instead of waiting until he is an adult. I know from personal experience and it’s an extremely conflicting feeling, I understood why my mother didn’t want to tell me but I was hurt that she didn’t. Yes, I’ll admit there have been times when I worry a lot about my mom but I’m still relieved that I know about her illness so I can help her or encourage her. She has her bad days, she becomes so fragile and weak that it tears me up on the inside. On the other, I become so inspired and proud of my mom because she chooses not to let lupus or any other of her illnesses control her life. No matter what happens she continues to try to be the best mom she can be and that, to me, is amazing and more than I could ever ask for. My mother always struggles with the idea that her illness limits from doing things, that her children will think less of her because she can’t do things but in actuality it just makes me admire her that much more. I do worry about her but I can’t help beam with pride when I think about how brave and strong my mom is. Everyone’s situation with a life-long illness is different, and how they choose handle or share it depends on them. I am in no way, shape, or form knocking your choices, I just wanted to share my own experience and view from a child’s standpoint. Just giving you something to ponder on. Thank you again for sharing, and I wish you the best with your battle against RA 🙂 ❤️

  5. January 29, 2015 at 10:30 am

    This is so heartfelt and real and raw. Thank you for sharing this part of your life, Tia.

    You’re an incredible person, which I already knew, and reading this I can see and feel how much you love your son. I wish for pain-free moments together forever, friend, and beyond that. xo
    Andrea B. recently posted…A List of Important Self-Help BooksMy Profile

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