Imagine going to the park with your child. They’re excited to run and climb and jump and swing, and you're ready to prove that you're the kind of mom who's willing to get in the sand, go down the slide head first, and scale precarious playground equipment. Except you can't be that mom... because the physical pain is just too much. You live with this pain every single day, and the guilt it brings sticks to you like glue. That's what it’s like to parent with chronic pain.
According to the National Institutes of Health, over 25 million people live with chronic pain, which is described as pain that lasts roughly three months or more. I’ve lived with chronic pain for several years now and thanks to a number of medical issues. I rarely enjoy a night of uninterrupted sleep due to a condition called sacroilitis, which also makes it difficult to climb or stand for long periods of time. I also have back pain that prevents me from bending over comfortably. My legs often go numb, and sometimes that numbness extends to my arms. I’ve dealt with other forms of chronic paint too, and I’m not the only person, or mother, who lives with this type of debilitating pain day in and day out.
I hate not being able to be as spry and flexible for my child. I hate that I don't always have the energy or patience to match his. I want to make his childhood a magical time, but I rarely, if ever, can engage in any kind of physical activity with him. There are many other mothers like me out there who deal with the anxiety and guilt that comes with not being able to do more with their children. I spoke to several and they each explained their conditions and, moreover, how it impacts their parenting.