Google+ Authentic Parenting: Parenting In Pain

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Parenting In Pain

I have a rhumatoïd condition that causes joint pain and lower back ache. This sometimes makes it impossible for me to walk, let alone carry my daughter, especially because now - with her 13 kg - she’s gotten quite heavy.
Yet ever since we had that medical scare a while back, my daughter is inseparable from me, doesn’t want to walk and doesn’t even want to go on my back.
She has to be carried in my arms, or else... A big ginormous tantrum arises.

Yes. My previously tantrum free daughter has grown intro the tantrum hurricane whenever she’s around me ever since the medical scare. Add to that that we’ve had the emergency trip to Belgium (for medical testing) and that we have found out recently that we’ll be moving to another country, and you get one very emotionally destabilized, tantrum prone sweetheart.

She does sense our stress. She is scared all the time (could she be thinking I’m dying because the chickens all got ill and eventually died). She is insecure and feels her foundations trembling.

Image: The Alieness Gisela Giardino On Flickr

But what I wanted to write about is how to remain an Authentic parent when it hurts?
How to stay gentle when you just can’t fulfill their requests? How not to get sucked into the emotion of a tantrum when she’s coping with my umprecedented - yet recurring - no?

We already had to result to the pushchair, because of her refusal to go on my back (which I would sometimes be able to bare).

And when she’s tantruming because of my refusal to carry her - which she must sense is aginst what I would want to do - how do I refrain from falling apart and crying too.
How do I stop myself from getting angry in frustration, since she’s only tantruming with me?

Basically, how can you be in pain and yet remain attuned to your child? Tend to another while you ache to be tended to yourself.

My husband says I manage it very well, that I am an image of calm and gentle parenting. But I feel like I am lacking. I hate that my body lets me down in so many ways. I hate that my body refuses service when I just want to tend to my daughter.



  1. Oh, how I can relate to this... I'm sorry for you.
    I have a chronic illness too, that has me a couple of days a week in the hospital, and leaves me tired and ill for a lot of other moments. My daughter (8) hates me being ill and can get very angry about it. It helps to separate her being angry with my illness with being angry at me. Not to take it personal, how difficult it may be.
    To be happy with anything good that's happening helps me to be positive.
    I wish you all the best.

  2. i have fibromyalgia - though just the fatigue bits really when the kids were young enough to need carrying - not being able to carry them when they needed/wanted it - that would have been hard - you have my thoughts and wishes for relief on this - and forgiveness of yourself and all the ways you are not the mom you want to be is my most ardent wish for you this day...

  3. I have no advice, but plenty of hugs. There were many days during pregnancy when the morning/noon/night sickness was so bad that I would just lay on the couch and turn on the TV. I felt horrible when they were wanting me to play with them and I felt too sick. However, I am learning that it is OK for them to be upset and express that. I never want to deliberately cause them to be sad or frustrated, but it is OK that I can't always fix it for them, too.

  4. I hope someone posts with good advice. I am having a similar issue with very strong fatigue. My kids are old enough and I've been a mama long enough that this isn't as difficult as I would have found it had this happened in their toddlerhood. Still, it is a real bummer.

  5. I understand where you're coming from, because I'm going thorough much of the same with pain issues and my 3 year-old. I have managed to get past the few tantrums she throws by calmly explaining that 'mummy can't carry you now, because she has a bad back and you're a big girl now'. She's very proud of being a big girl, and dos definitely not want to be called a baby. That helps some. What doesn't help, is that I have to do o99.9% of the housework because my husband refuses to. I've tried to change this for the last 20 years, but it won't change.

  6. I can relate, but I know I wasn't handling it very well at the time. I had lung surgery and returned home to care for a two year old with no help. It's tough, but with some gentle prodding, and a lot of improvising we were able to make it work. She is beautiful by the way :0)

  7. Let's consider that "pain" isn't necessarily physical. All the sudden, this becomes relevant to a whole new circle of moms...

    Our 20-week-old baby boy was stillborn less than 2 weeks ago. The emotional pain of it is distracting at best. I don't feel I'm experiencing anything out of the realm of what would be expected, and I don't feel I'm clinically depressed (been there), but that kind of pain makes parenting a challenge too. Especially when the other children are grieving in their own way as well. Anyhow, I guess I don't have any answers (though I can relate to parenting through the fatigue & morning sickness of pregnancy.) Just thought I'd add that layer...

  8. Anonymous, I am so sorry for your loss... Indeed, emotional pain can get in the way of parenting too... Sadly, I can account for that too. Big hugs to you and your family. If you aver need to reach out, feel free to contact me.

  9. @Anonymous
    I'm so sad for your loss. I hope you have loved ones around you to help take care of you. Your words are helpful to remind us how hard life can be and not to take anything for granted.


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