Reflections of a Mom on Mother’s Day Living with Psoriatic Arthritis
Being a mom is hard. Being a mom living with psoriatic arthritis can feel downright impossible. When I first found out I was going to be a mom, I had lovely visions of rocking my baby to sleep and kissing tiny, adorable toes. I dreamed of playing tag in the yard for hours and chasing them around the house. I had no idea about the pain and fatigue from the PsA monster that would slowly overtake my life shortly after my third little one was born.
I blamed the aches on getting up for the nightly feedings.
I blamed the fatigue on chasing three children under 4 years old around my house all day.
I saw all the other moms of little ones. Yes, they seemed a bit tired and harried from managing their children, but they are seemed somehow “better” at juggling all of it than me. I thought, if I could just catch up on my sleep I won’t feel so exhausted all of the time. I desperately wanted to be like the other moms who seemed like the had it all together. I couldn’t figure out how they managed to do it. I felt guilty that I couldn’t keep up.
Turns out, it wasn’t simply “Mom Fatigue” after all. It was psoriatic arthritis fatigue and it makes it so hard to be the mom I imagined that I would be. I desperately want to have the energy to chase my children for hours in the backyard. I want to be able to keep up with all of the
laundry, shopping, and running around that comes with a house with three young children. I don’t want them to see a tired mom, a hurting mom, or a sick mom. I want to protect them and shelter them from dealing with the effects of living with a mom with psoriatic arthritis.
Mom worries in the middle of the night
I often worry about the genetic component of this disease. Have I passed it on to my children? Will they one day have to fight this disease as I am fighting it now? Will they be burdened with the pain, fatigue, and joint damage that I’m living with today? Is there any way to protect them from that possible fate? Am I strong enough to be the kind of mom they deserve? Is my disease causing them harm? How can I manage to hold everything and everyone together? How does living with a mom with PsA impact them and their development? Are they better off without me? How can I deal with all of the guilt of missed moments and days of “mommy is sick.”? The truth of the matter is there are no easy answers to these questions. I can’t protect them from every possible danger. I can’t shelter them from every hurt in the world. But I can give them the tools they will need to be the best person they can be, no matter what life hands them.
I have watched my children grow and change so much over the past year. I have seen them develop new skills and learn about the world around them. One of the best things that I am blessed to see in my children as a result of being raised by a mom with PsA is empathy. They make cards when others aren’t feeling well. They are understanding when someone is sick. They are content curling up on my lap for cuddles or to read a book when I’m having a tough day. Yes, I could wallow in self-pity, I could spend hours complaining to them about the pain and fatigue, and all the things I “can’t” do. Rather, I choose to model strength. I choose to show them determination. I choose to be an example of perseverance. These are the fruits that come from being a mom with psoriatic arthritis. My children know what it means to be strong. They know what it means to keep fighting when it is hard. They know how to be understanding and empathetic of others’ pain. The learn what it means to be a warrior. There is no better gift I can give my children than this. The world is a hard place to live. Life isn’t always fair and often even our best-laid plans don’t work out the way we imagined.
Because of the example that they see in the way I choose to live my life with PsA;
They will grow to be strong and determined in a world that says, “No, you can’t.”
They will be empathetic and understanding in the face of pain and hardship.
When life says, “That is impossible,” they will persevere.
This is the best gift I can give them as mom living with psoriatic arthritis.