They say never judge a book by its cover. If it looks good on the outside, it must be fine on the inside, right? Apart from the usual guilt, uncertainty, and self-doubt that come along with motherhood, women with chronic illnesses are often facing their diagnoses alone and often find that hiding them is the best way to deal with them. Hiding them under nice clothes, a sparkling resume, and sometimes less subtly, behind a series of declined invitations from friends. After all, no one wants to get into your recent multiple sclerosis diagnosis at the annual school auction, right?
Moms with chronic illness face some unique parenting challenges, especially if you are unable to employ help, your spouse has a demanding schedule, or you are a single mother. You may need to prepare more ahead of time, down to laying out clothes the night before for you and your children, not because you just want to stick to your 'morning routine', but because everything just takes longer, and often times is more painful and tiring. When the kids are home, you may need to engage with your child more with floor play than going outside and tossing the ball around. The emotional toll these things take are great and hard to put into words. Having to explain to your child why you cannot do those that "other moms" do can be embarrassing. Self-doubt sets in when you feel like you are surrounded by moms who appear to "do it all" - work, volunteer, send holiday cards on time with the picture of perfection on the front, etc. Your kids may need to be more self-sufficient and do more complete chores which can make you feel like you're robbing them of your childhood.
One of the major social problems in young people living with chronic illness is the lack of peer support. With our busy lives and the absence of in-person support groups in the local vicinity, going online may offer a feasible solution. Some excellent blogs you or your loved one may want to visit to find out more about women living with chronic illness are: