For the first time in my life, I’m putting myself first. As a Spoonie, mother, and wife, it’s very difficult. I feel guilty about it—a lot.
I feel guilty asking my husband to watch the kids, so I can lie down when a migraine is setting off bombs inside my skull. I feel guilty letting my father-in-law watch my sons, so I can go to the gym, to help control my bipolar. I even feel guilty simply taking the time to shower for five minutes in the morning.
It’s a constant battle because the war will never be done. My mother always asks me when my migraines will go away or when I’ll finally feel better. It sucks to constantly have to remind her and other “caring” people that I’m never going to be better. The war will never be over. There will be more good days and bad pain days, but they will not stop. Not with my migraines, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Some days I want to give up—other days I want to fight until I can’t get up anymore.
Being a Spoonie parent is the best and worst thing I’ve ever been. The guilt about not being able to do certain things for my children is a black hole that drags me in so deep that it’s hard to remember to take care of myself. Why bother? I’m not good enough for my kids, right?
At the same time, being a parent is the biggest motivation I have. Nothing, not even the massive love I have for my husband motivates me more than my children. Nobody has ever loved me like they do. In their eyes, my two-year-old and eight-months-old think I can do no wrong. I am their world.
I have to keep fighting the battle to live through the pain, depression, and the anxiety for them. The deep bond we have is sacred, and I need to preserve it.
I’m a Spoonie parent, but I am also a warrior. I am strong. I am wise. I am beautiful. Nobody other than me can or will, love and take care of my children the way they deserve
That’s why I have to put myself first. Fuck the guilt. Remember Spoonie parents: you cannot help anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.
Melissa Guida-Richards is a 25-year-old Stay at Home Mom with migraines, PCOS, IBS, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. She created the Spoonie-Mama blog to be a helpful resource to other mothers dealing with chronic pain and the various challenges of motherhood. She has a wonderful husband named Charles, two sons (eight months old and two years old,) two dogs and two cats.