It’s one thing to be in pain, whether it be from an illness or an injury, but it is a whole new ball game when you factor in the role of mothering. I’m not an expert but I have learned a few things over the last years.
Here’s a bit of my background so you know where I’m coming from:
How it Happened
Just over three years ago I entered into the third trimester of pregnancy with my second son. It was a very stressful pregnancy and my body reacted negatively to the stress. The first 6 months of nausea was one thing but, as soon as the third trimester hit, the pain started. If you haven’t heard of symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), count yourself lucky. Basically it means that my pelvis was out of place and causing me a lot of pain. It was painful to sit, painful to walk, and painful to lay down. To be frank, it sucked. Add the fact that I was carrying a baby in that out of place pelvis and that my firstborn was a toddler who still needed a lot of love and attention from his mama.
Birth Pain Recovery
After the birth, the SPD went away. There were a couple weeks of birth pain recovery but I was finally pain free. Until about two months later when I slipped on the ice and threw out my back. Recovery from that took almost two months. Then I moved couches (side note: don’t move couches four months post partum!) and my back popped. It was just a small sounding *pop* but boy did it cause a lot of trouble. I spent many days nearly in tears while I held my infant son and tried to show my toddler the love an attention he needed. My back didn’t get the rest that it needed because my newborn baby needed me more (he cried a lot and, being only four months old, didn’t know how to walk yet and therefore needed to be constantly carried).
Old Back Injury
After about 2 years my back injury had finally subsided to a dull ache with occasional flareups. Then we moved and my help was needed on the new farm. This meant carrying heavy buckets and grain bags on a daily basis. Pitching hay and straw regularly. And then I had a two year old who needed me to carry him through the snow drifts on the way to the barn. My back flared up pretty badly again. Fast forward a few months and I think that I’m finally over much of my back injury. But I’m pregnant and the SPD started again. I keep telling myself “just a few more weeks!”
So after 3 years of pretty much constant, and sometimes excruciating and debilitating, pain, I have learned a few things:
Ask for help:
Don’t be shy, just do it. People are more than willing to help. They just need to be asked because they can’t read your mind. People enjoy helping someone in need so consider it a favor to them to ask.
Plan for rest:
Stop (or at the very least slow down) the busyness and extra curricular commitments. Your focus needs to be on your family. Your children will appreciate you taking care of yourself more than they will appreciate the busyness.
Work in spurts:
This goes hand-in-hand with rest. Plan the most important things that you need to get done and spend just a few minutes getting as much done as you can. Then take a time of rest. It’s amazing how much you can get done in short spurts if you know what you need to be doing and stay focused on the task.
Find a way to stay positive:
A gratitude journal to help you count your blessings. An in person or online support group. Many people find comfort in reading the Psalms or other encouraging pieces of Scripture. Listen to uplifting music. Read motivational quotes and proverbs. It is much easier to deal with pain when your head is in the right place.
Don’t give up on finding a solution. Look into conventional help and look into alternative help. Ask questions of your caregivers and ask your friends.
Another great list of tips is this one from Marcy, a homeschooling mom dealing with a chronic illness. She’s been dealing with this sort of stuff a lot longer than I have and has compiled a great list that can be applied to any mom, not just a homeschooling mom.