Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

Tonight I am feeling both sad and angry. Earlier today my daughter asked me when my back will be better – because when you’re 3 everything gets better eventually, whether it’s a cold, chicken pox or a bumped head. I had to explain to her that my back won’t get better, that I will always have a sore back. “But I don’t want you to be sore any more Mummy!” she cried, and I had to comfort her and tell her that it’s ok, I don’t mind having a sore back.

But I do. Of course I do, no-one enjoys being in pain, let alone chronic 24 hour pain. Yes, the levels vary, and some days I am more mobile and flexible than others. But the pain is always there. Sometimes it’s a dull, nagging pain like a weight dragging me down; sometimes it’s a sharp stabbing pain like white hot lightning. Most days it’s a combination of the two although the intensity varies.

This pain has been a constant companion for almost 17 years now. It has worsened significantly during that time, as degenerative conditions do. And so now I find myself aged 32, with 2 small children, and decreasing mobility. And I am angry.

I feel angry every time I struggle to pick up my 1 year old son and every time I barely manage to pick up my 3 year old daughter. I feel angry every time I have to explain that I can’t get down on the floor to play today because my back is too sore. I feel angry when my husband has to help me up from the sofa or out of the bath; when I struggle to make my bed because the weight of the duvet is too much; when I have to explain to DD yet again that I can’t run with her.

And I feel incandescent with impotent rage every time I see her looking at me with concern in her eyes, every time she tells me that she’s sad I’m sore, every time she gets out her doctor’s kit “to make Mummy better”. She’s only 3 and already I’m letting her down, already she’s learning that her Mummy isn’t the super strong person she needs, that I can’t always be the Mummy she wants me to be, who crawls around the floor and runs outside with her.

Before I had children I thought that there couldn’t be anything that hurt more than my back does on its worst days. I was wrong – this pain in my heart is far harder to bear.

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Comments on: "There are different kinds of pain" (6)

  1. You are all the mummy she needs darling girl your unconditional love is more than enough and the fact she is so articulate and bright and bubbly is down to you and don’t u EVER forget that. The back is rbbbbbbbbiiiish and shit ad I wish her doctors kit would make you better be angry that the docs can’t fix it but don’t doubt your mothering she wants you out of pain because she loves you nt because she wants you to do anything more than you do already. Xxxx

    • Thank you lovely, that helps. 🙂 I just wish I could live up to the kind of mother I want to be – and this isn’t it.

      • Don’t be hard on yourself ur every bit the mum u want to be they aren’t missing out on anything you just do it a bit differently or a bit slower that’s all xxxx

  2. Meebee is right. Being strong for your children isn’t about physical strength, but about providing them with unconditional love, support and affection, teaching them the right values, guiding them without smothering them and helping them reach their potential. Also, the lesson that humans are not perfect, physically, mentally and emotionally, is a really important one for children to learn.

    • Hang on, I’m not allowed to smother them? 😉 I know what you mean and you’re right, and she is very sympathetic to people who are ‘poorly’. Thank you.

  3. PS *No-one* lives up to the kind of mother (or indeed anything) that they want to be in their head. But if you do those things, then you are a great mum and everything your children need and more.

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