Parenting with IBD
I totally get those who say that they don’t want to have children because of how hard it is to just care for themselves with IBD. I get those who are terrified of how they will cope with having children and IBD. I also get those who are so desperate for the love of a child.
I always wanted to be a mama
That one was me. Since I can remember, I've been obsessed with being a mama. I never wanted to be a career woman. I wanted to be an old school housewife, cooking and cleaning for her loving family. Then I was told at 15 that I’d never be able to have children! I was devastated. Its all I ever wanted.
Funnily enough and true to his personality, our son (though prevented) decided his life was too important not to be here on this earth and whoops! I found out that I was pregnant. We eventually married and had another baby. A girl. Now I have 2 crazy children and I'm not at all how I thought I'd be.
The dreams are not the reality
I'm a working mama with an ostomy and a husband that works away. I'm not the fun playful mama that has the energy and the stamina to do all of those dream time things. The dream I was told and believed in a child doesn’t exist in my reality. That’s something alone I've had to deal with.
I have a child with special needs and high energy. I joke that he sucked all the energy I had left and now can switch off. In reality, that’s really hard. It's hard to keep up with a “normal” child with IBD, let alone a high demanding child.
So what do I do?
I cry a lot! Haha. Jokes, well sort of... I do cry. I also talk, and I talk at a level to my children that they can understand. I've always explained to my firecrackers that mama isn’t well and needs to sleep a lot more than others. And that mama just can’t do those things. It’s not fair on either of us, but it’s the reality and we have to make the best of it. The best part of it is that it teaches them compassion, independence, and empathy. Things that aren’t easy to come by these days.
I'm open and honest with my children
I also keep them around me. I don’t hide my bad side just like I don’t hide my good side. I believe honesty and vulnerability are one of the most valuable things that we can show our children. They help me change my ostomy, I explain in detail why I have scars and a bag. I explain what that means and that honesty keeps the communication flowing both ways. They’re not afraid to ask me questions, show their own fears and because of that, I have to opportunity to support them and dispel any of those.
I don’t want to be the immune compromised mama. I don’t want to have to even have these conversations about hospital visits, blood, and guts, but it's our reality. How we make the best of it is all that matters. It’s all about how I approach it with them. If I show fear, then they will only sense that from it. In our reality, they may not always have a mama around, but I want my legacy to remain of fiercely independent and resilient little humans. That no matter what, they knew mama did her best and loved with all of her being.
At the end of the day, love is all that matters.
Does exercising regularly help in the management of your symptoms?