Life on the Loose

Loving and working, with less anxiety (and more fun)

A Mom with Migraines

Chronic Headaches Make Me Feel Like I'm Letting My Family Down

 

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while but, in all honesty, it’s been too damn depressing. Who wants to write about migraines, and does anyone really want to read about them?

 

But the more I realize how much they’ve impacted my life, and now my family’s, I want to share what I’ve experienced. And I’d love to hear how other moms (or dads) with migraines have handled parenting through the pain.

 

I’ve had migraines off and on since I was a kid. I’d get a lot of them for a year and then would have hardly any for a few years in between. As much as I hated them, I got through them, one at a time, but their enormous effect on my life didn’t really strike me until after I had kids.

 

I keep thinking about the impact my migraines have on my children’s lives. They are now eight and five and very aware of what’s happening. I don’t want them to think of me as Mom, that lady in the dark bedroom, surrounded by medicine. I try to keep discussions about my headaches light and straightforward. After all, there is nothing to worry about. I do feel like I have done a good job of protecting them from worry. They seem to take a headache as a matter of fact. For that, I am very, very grateful. Even if they’re not worried, though, what exactly are they thinking? Are they sad? Do they wish I could just get out of bed? Do they miss me? Are they mad?

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I’ve seen doctors, had every test, and tried numerous medications. And what I’ve learned is that the way for me to make a migraine go away is to take my medicine, close the blinds, and lie in the dark. In silence. None of this matches up with my ideal of parenting. Some times I try to power on, thinking maybe I can get through it if I just keep busy, but I just end up having a worse headache for longer.

 

I’ve missed numerous family get-togethers, parties, and celebrations. Yesterday, I missed my niece’s one-year birthday party. When I miss out on time with my family or friends, I am sad for what I have lost.

 

In addition, I hate feeling like a burden to other family members. My husband ends up doing all of the childcare and housekeeping, as well as tending to me. Even though he takes care of all of us without complaint, I know it’s a lot of extra stress.

 

Until this cycle of migraines go away, I’m looking for ways to help deal with missing out on family life and/or ways I can help the rest of my family cope.

Any ideas?

 

Amy Cooper Rodriguez is a parenting writer, physical therapist, and mother of two. Her work has appeared on Babble and in numerous parenting magazines.

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