There are days when the task of being a mom is extremely daunting. Days when all I want to do is stay in bed. But then the alarm goes off and reality seeps in. And as much as I hate the idea of unearthing myself from under the blankets, I must find the will to get up and fulfill the monumental task at hand—being a mother.
Because it MUST be done.
And that's what mothers do. Rain or shine, night or day, in sickness and in health, it must be done. I've wanted to be a mother ever since I was a little girl. And right now, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I would often play house with my sisters, playing dress-up, cooking and cleaning, and we'd spend most our days taking turns being "mommy." Fast forward many years, and I got married to a remarkable man, and shortly after that, we started our family.
I mean, don't get me wrong—before I became a mom, I knew it would require a lot of hard work. But the gravity and complexity of the role is something I've come to appreciate over time. And the psychological and emotional toll it takes is something I was not fully prepared for. In fact, at times this seems to be the hardest part of being a mom for me because I feel like I'm expected to constantly be whole and to keep it together.
Because mothers are the glue that keeps it all together. We're the foundation, the pillars and the anchors for our families. And I've always felt this natural call to be the caretaker and nurturer of everyone in my family. Thus, tending to the needs of and taking care of everyone else often trumps taking care of myself.
For me, the brunt of motherhood truly hits home when I'm under attack from a migraine. I've had them since I was little. I get them so bad that it feels like someone's hammering a nail into my temples. I experience a sensitivity to light and noise, immense nausea, vomiting, and feeling lethargic during and even after the migraine has passed. Physically, it's crippling, debilitating and draining. But emotionally, it's crushing.
I often also experience immense sadness during a migraine because I feel helpless and unproductive. I feel like I am no longer in control of my own body, and that no amount of medicine can help alleviate my pain. And when you're a mom, being sick adds yet another layer of complexity to an already difficult task. For me, a migraine is the worst thing that can happen because they derail my plans for an entire day (or more).
And I've had my fair share of ER visits from a migraine. When I was three months pregnant with my first baby, I had a debilitating episode, so much so that I couldn't eat or drink anything. I felt so dehydrated, I was terrified we would lose the baby. In the ER, I was given lots of IV fluids and strong but safe pain medication which alleviated my nausea. Then—and only then—was I able to eat anything.
Now, with three boys under my care, even the thought of a migraine is terrifying.
But even on those unlucky and dreadful days when I can barely lift my head to save my own life, I'm still a mom. I still wake up to the sound of those tiny footsteps racing through the hallway only to push open my bedroom door asking for breakfast. Then you do what any mother would do—if you can't walk, you crawl out of bed. You get it done. You figure it out.
Then you take a moment to let it all out. You break down. You sob. You moan in agony. You fall apart. Then your little ones ask, "Mommy, are you okay?" So you quickly wipe away your tears, pull it together, and reassure them that yes—Mommy's okay, she's just not feeling well today.
As they rush past me to race downstairs I take a deep breath, let it out, and manage to collect myself off the floor and head to the kitchen to make breakfast. This is motherhood. Motherhood is sometimes feeling like you want to run away from yourself to save yourself. And on the days when you're not feeling well, it just makes it that much harder.
For those parents suffering from chronic and debilitating medical conditions, I empathize. I will pray for you. For us.
Mama, remember to be especially kind to yourself on those unlucky days. And know that even on those days, you're still a really great mom.