How do Moms with Chronic Pain handle the guilt?

Ixchel - posted on 09/29/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )




I wanted to start this conversation to see how other moms handle their pain and the guilt that goes along with what they can/ can't do for their families. FYI I am the mom of 2 boys been married for 12 years. 10 years ago I gave birth to my first a healthy 9.7lbs boy, 6 years ago to my last and 10lb boy. I did everything for my family. I was supermom. I went from sun up to sun down. I could work circles around anybody. In 2006, we moved I packed the entire 4 bedroom house in 2 days, by myself. 3 days before I went in for elective surgery that would change my life forever. I needed to have a large Hiatial Hernia repaired, it went it Laproscopically and it came out cut from Sternem to bellybutton.I had Neissen wrap done on the stomach itself. i got an infection in the incision and then a ventrail hernia. I have had 5 more repairs with cavliar mesh placement trying to repair the original mess. I had to have my gall bladder removed, I got a clip that fell off from that and a bile leak from that, an ERCP with stint placement to fix that. An umbilical cord hernia repaired. I have migraines that I have had forever. My entire stomach has no muscle at all it is all mesh now it hurts like no tommarrow. I went from a women that did everyhting to a women who can't even shave my own legs. I use to pride myself in homecooked meals for my family, now if I can get oatmeal in the microwave I am doing good. I had all these dreams of buying a farm and letting my kids grow up like I did in the country and now I can't even hold down a desk job. I feel like such a loser and the pain in m y stomach and back are just relentless, it never lets up. I don't do any house work my husband does it all because we are so afriad that I will pull out my stomach and have to have another surgery. I don't know how to deal with the guilt that I am a crappy mom. The only thing I do is homeschool my kids. But I still feel like I am not giveing them everything I wanted to give them. how do other moms deal with these emotions?/


Lora - posted on 11/03/2010




I can totally relate. I don't have quite as many problems as you do but I have been through more than any 25 year old should ever have to go through. I have two young girls, 5 and 9 months, and I struggle every day with back and hip pain from a car accident 4 years ago. I have days where I feel like a complete failure and worthless as a wife and mother. The best way I have found to keep my spirits up is to simply remind myself that my children are depending on me and watching my every move. They are looking to me to learn how to be strong and courageous in times of pain and how to not carry feelings of hopelessness. I have to dig very deep and find that inner superwoman and accept the fact that what I do is simply the best I can do. That is the best lesson of all to teach my girls, to do the best you can with what you have and be happy. I will be praying for you and your family and I would love to talk more. God bless!


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User - posted on 04/16/2012




Wow! I was so moved by your story-it made me cry! I am a 41 yo Mom of one daughter(couldn't have any more kids b/c of my back)that lives with chronic pain and it does make you feel very guilty when it comes to your family! Believe me, I would constantly feel like the most inadequate Mother(especially when I would see all of the "SuperMommies" around me that did all of these things with their kids) and I was comparing all of the things that they could do that I could not! It is still a struggle because sometimes my daughter seems resentful towards me for it(like I can help it!) Just remember that God gave you those children because no one could love and raise those children like you do-with him there are no accidents! God knew EXACTLY what he was doing when he gave them to YOU! It is so great to have a support system like this where you can go vent to someone who gets it! We have to all stick together ! God Bless You!!


Amy - posted on 03/11/2012




I know exactly how you feel. I went from being a fairly active mother employed with an excellent job as a programmer to someone who is lucky to get out of bed on most days. We lost our house several years ago because of the drop in income and medical bills. We've just now gotten back on our feet again financially, mostly due to Social Security income and my husband getting an excellent new job.

It can be so devastating to not be able to do the things we feel we are expected to in order to be 'good' wives and mothers. The guilt can be overwhelming at times. I went through several periods where I was suicidal - I wanted an escape from the pain itself, and I felt my family would be better off without me. It took lots of counseling and antidepressants to get out of that place. It certainly helped to finally have a diagnoses and a pain doctor who didn't write me off as a nutcase or an addict.

Basically, you have to accept your limitations and do the best you can with them. It's hard, but it helps to know that there are other mothers out there just like you.


Sherri - posted on 04/12/2011




I used to be a supermom/superwoman too and now can barely get through the day. It's hard when your life changes over night like that. Mine is from a drunk driver hitting us one night. I went from teaching and owining my own business to not working at all. I now have various chronic pains, headaches worse than migraines, and a brain injury where I have trouble with word recall, organizing, memory etc. I felt so bad for you reading about your difficulties, but I have to admit that I'm jealous that you can home school your kids. What a great thing to do. Be proud of that.
I understand about wanting to cook great meals and not being able to, but try not to worry. Your kids are old enough to help you and get things for themselves. As long as they get enough nutrients in their bodies don't worry! My son is 5 and he's very independant. I always say he'll make a great husband and father someday because he's had to do things for himself and because of the compassion he shows me when I'm in pain. I still feel guilty for not being the mom that I had planned on being, but I am doing my best and my son is doing well. He knows I can't run so we play tag where we are only allowed to walk. We have stuff we can do together and I make sure that he gets time with others that can do the things I can't (like run)

Shannintipton - posted on 03/29/2011




Hi Ixchel, again I think it is wonderful that you are homeschooling your children. I have cronic pain too for many, many years. I have a 4 yr old and an 8 yr old. One good thing that has come out of this is that they are becoming independent. They are learning to do things for themselves. This doesn't mean I dont feel guilt. They also always say "Your arms always hurt or your legs always hurt. When is it going to go away." The meals are subpar but they are picky eaters anyway. So when I do cook a big meal they dont eat it anyway. Which really makes me mad. But we do the best we can and make the most of the days that I feel good. I think your kids will look to take care of themselves and be very independent. Thats a good thing. Best of luck{:+)

shannin tipton

Christine - posted on 03/22/2011




i wish i knew how to answer this question----i feel like am not a good mother anymore. i have 11 children--9 of my own and 2 step-kids. i raised my step-daughter from the time she was 10 years old---but she isn't even speaking to us these days---we're not even sure why. we also have 5 grandchildren #6 is due in august. the oldest is only 9 months younger than my youngest daughter, who is 7. so the grand kids are 6, 5, and 3 babies that are about 8 months old---girl-boy twins and another little girl.
i used to grow a huge garden and did tons of canning and i sewed and even used cloth diapers--once i had 3 kids in cloth diapers a 2 year old and a set of twins. i had a nervous breakdown after my 3rd baby---but had a set of twins a month after he turned 2--and once i had recovered from delivery and those first few months---i felt like i was more on top of things than i had ever been. i have battled the depression and anxiety off and on for 22 years, but i've done reasonably well with it until the last 3 1/2 years. after my 8th baby, i started having headaches everyday--which gradually turned into aches all over my body. i assume what i have is fibromyalgia and i take alot of medication to try and deal with the pain. i also have low thyroid and secondary adrenal insufficiency---plus the anxiety and depression---some days i don't know which condition is causing what symptoms---so i don't always know what to doto try and relive what is going on with me.
our children range in age from 36-7 years old---quite and age span!! i hardly feel like a decent mother--let alone a decent grandmother.
i think the best thing i can think of is to be available to talk to them whenever they need it or just want it. i do have some good days--but i never know when they will be, so i can't really plan ahead to do things, but maybe having ideas for things that can be done on the spur of the moment would be a good idea to take advantage of the good days----i'm hoping that maybve you have some of those good days, too?
one of my twins is home from college right now and she does almost all of the cooking for me--but she leaves in a month to go back to school. her twin sister may be coming home about amonth after that--but i've got to figure out how to get myself together so i can do a little better than i am doing.
i guess i didn't really tell you anything helpful, but i just wanted you to know that you are not alone in feeling the guilt at not being able to be the kind of mother you want to be. i guess we can all just kind of lean on each other and pass on any little tips that might help. also, i think it is important to let your kids know what is going on with you and why you can't do the things you used to do---sometimes it is better if dad can be the one to do the explaining---but that doesn't always work---but at least if they know why we are the way we are, they might be a little more understanding----hopefully we can raise our children to be compassionate and caring adults because they can learn from us that we can still love and care about them even if we can't do alot of things for them.

Lynn - posted on 01/18/2011




Dear Lxchel,
Please do not feel guilty for what you are going through! The fact that you can homeschool your children is wonderful!! You're there for them every day...I wasn't. I had to put them in daycare as soon as they were 6 weeks old because I had to work. About 9 years ago, I started losing my short term memory. My migraines (that I've had for over 20 years) were getting worse. Then suddenly, I began to hurt all over and felt exhausted all of the time. It took the doctors a long time to figure it out, but they finally diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, among a host of other problems. I had to go on disability 2 years ago. Luckily for me, it was approved the first time I applied. I sit at window and watch people heading out to work, and it tears me up because I want to be able to go too. I was an administrative assistant for 30 years, before my body wore out. My kids grew up watching me either awake and in pain or drugged and asleep. My oldest daughter basically raised my son and youngest daughter. I've apologized to my children, but they just said, "Mom, if we hadn't grown up the way we did, we wouldn't be such good parents now. You taught us what compassion is and we just wish you didn't still hurt." What awesome kids I have! Don't ever think that you are a poor mother just because you are suffering from chronic pain and can't work a farm now. Your children and husband love you just the way you are. Feel blessed that you have them, and can still see, hear and touch them. Your presence and wisdom are priceless! Give them that! Teach them to be the best people they can be. There's no shame in that! Brightest Blessings to you and yours!

Amanda - posted on 11/14/2010




Hello Ixchel Pirlo, My name is Amanda im 35 and a single mum to 3 boys, I have felt guilty for so long about everything my kids do to help me I have fibromyalgia, slipped disc with osteoarthritus a heart problem, thyroid problems and depression for the last three years my children have been caring for me which i hate and i sit and cry and get angry with myself because its my job to look after them not the other way around. I live in the U.K and iv found this foundation called Banardo's young carrers group they came out and saw me and my children the other day and told me of all the help i could have i was amazed they will take my kids out for day trips and pay for a holiday for us as a family and help me fill in forms to get extra help around the home, also if i need any changes around my home they can pay for that aswell. Im now feeling alot better in myself because even though im still not happy the kids doing jobs for me i know my kids will get time out and have fun like kids should do like go karting, camping ect .. Maybe try and find if there are any groups you could go to with your children, as a family it might help you get your head around things better but i understand how you feel.. sending you hugs xxx Amanda

Tracy - posted on 10/01/2010




I am soooo sorry you are going through all of this and I can tell you I relate. The guilt I have is almost worse tan the actual physical pain. I can no longer do much at all and I am on disablity...34 and unable to be a mom to my 4 kids and another on the way. My depression and anxiety is soo bad I have days I cry non stop. I feel noone understands so I hold alot of my pain in to myself. I wish I had a magic answer for you, unfortunatly I am in the same boat as you. I get so frustrated not being able to do the little things I used to be able to do with my kids. Mine is from the birth of my last child 4 years ago. He was 11 pounds and 5 oz and I had him natural and my body is shot now. I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia now and my pelvis and tailbone are in constant pain as well. I have actually daydreamed about ending my life from the guilt and just being soooo sick of it all but my babies need me no matter how I am. I love my kids dearly btu I am at witts end.. I a now pregnant with baby number 5 and scared out of my mind...I feel i am rambling.. If you need or want to chat I am here.. I wish I had a magic pill or cure for both of us :( take care of your self..ur family needs you :)

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