One Mom's Midnight Fears

My children are still little. It is still easy to convince them that “Mommy is fine.” It is still easy to persuade them to sit and snuggle on my lap, read stories, or watch a show when I am not feeling well. But I know that this will not always be the case. I know, sometime very soon, they will be more impacted by the fact that their mom has psoriatic arthritis. These are the fears that keep me up past midnight into the wee hours of the morning, some nights even more than the ever-present pain.

Fear of genetics

Psoriatic arthritis, like most autoimmune diseases, has a genetic component to it. It is often passed down through our DNA therefore statistically, my children are at a much higher risk of developing psoriatic arthritis and other autoimmune diseases than other children.  So, what will this mean for my children? What is in their future? That question continues to keep me up, many nights into the early hours of the morning. I worry over seemingly normal “growing pains” of my children. I fret over new rashes. I make a mental note of changes in the shape or texture of their fingernails when I trim them. If you ask me in the middle of the night, when reason has already left for the day, you will find me completely convinced that of course, they obviously have been cursed with this disease because of me.

Fear of guilt

Oh, the never-ending guilt. Yes, I could try and convince you that I don’t let it bother me. I could give you 5 tips on how to deal with the guilt. I could even tell you that after so many years, I have learned to “let it go.” But in all honesty, I have no idea how to handle the guilt. In the middle of the night, the guilt is all consuming, all encompassing. The list of things I have to feel guilty about rolls around in my head drumming to the same beat as the pain in my feet and growing with each thud.

Physical responsibilities

My children are still young. They require a great deal of energy, from a physical standpoint. They need a mom who can chase them, pick them up and hug them when they hurt themselves, and wrestle around on the floor. They aren’t old enough to help out with the more physically demanding chores. All of these are my responsibility. In the middle of the night, I worry that I am not enough. I worry that I can’t keep of with the physical demands of what it means to be the amazing mom that my children deserve.

So what’s the answer?

I wish I had a magical answer for you on how to deal with these fears. I wish I had a lovely list of bulleted suggestions on how to make living with the responsibility of raising children with this disease easier. But unfortunately, I haven’t found the answer yet. I have no quick tips to offer. What I can offer though is understanding and support. Please know that if like me, you are up into the early morning hours, fretting over how to be a good parent while living with psoriatic arthritis, that you are not alone. I try my best to have faith that the answers will come, that we will survive, and our children are much stronger than we give them credit for.

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