Tag: life skills

Parenting in Pain

Parenting

 

My son was three when the pain started. I’d always been an actively involved parent. I took pride in my parenting. Sitting on the floor playing games with him, reading stories with him on my lap. Going for walks, taking him to Gymboree classes.  And suddenly that needed to stop. I could barely walk and I was in agony most of the time. I went through a barrage of doctors all trying to figure out what was wrong with me. And in the midst of all the tests I went through and all the doctors I saw, I needed to find a way to still be a good parent to my little guy. I mourned the things I used to be able to do. But it just wasn’t my reality anymore. Here are some things I learned along the way:

  1.  Don’t try to hide it. Children are smart and intuitive, they know when you’re hurting. In the beginning if my son asked me what was wrong I would say nothing. But that only ended up confusing him. When we started to open up a dialogue about what I was going through, I was surprised at how much he understood even at three.
  2. You can still do the things you used to do-just differently. Since I could no longer sit on the floor with him, he would sit beside me on the couch or in the chair beside me. Since he could no longer sit on my lap, he would sit beside me as I read, or stand beside my bed if I couldn’t get up at all that day. I found other people to take him to Gymboree or music lessons when I couldn’t. Since I was home with him during the day my husband made lunches for us the night before.
  3.  When it was time for school, I drove him instead of walking. When I couldn’t drive, a neighbour or a family member would take him. It became important for me to let go of control and be ok with relying on others for help.
  4. Asking for your child’s help. When my son was old enough I was able to ask him for help if I needed it. Careful to not take advantage, but there were days that he was home with me and I needed his assistance. I think he felt good to help out and I believe it helped to teach him responsibility. He’s been making his own lunch since he was 6.
  5. Empathy. I know seeing me in pain was hard for him. I also know that it has helped to teach him empathy. He now wants to be a doctor and help others who are in pain or suffering.

Parenting in pain is not easy. There are still times when I can be overcome with guilt and wonder if I’ve given him the best life I could. But when I look at the evidence all around me I know without a doubt I’ve done the very best possible. And really that’s what our children deserve-our very best no matter what that looks like. So, don’t be hard on yourself. Take each day as it comes. Forgive yourself. Let go of what might of been. Enjoy the time you do have and make the most of each moment.

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Reaching Out

Why is it so hard to reach out and ask for help? Is it something to do with the western culture? Is it supposed to look like we can have a million balls in the air, and that we’re managing them all to perfection oh and if you’re a woman you also have to look beautiful while doing it. I don’t get it. I’m tired of it.

I’m not managing well right now folks. Anxiety is sky high. I keep waiting for it to pass but there it is every morning greeting me as I wake. It’s still 2017 and I still want a revolution but I’ve come to realize I can’t do it by myself. I need some help. I need your help. This is me reaching out.

I need to meet you for coffee or have you come here. I might need you to come to a doctors appt with me. Or drive me on an errand if my pain is too high. I need you to remind me that I am safe even though I don’t feel safe. I need reassurance that I’m making good choices for myself.

I need you to understand if I cancel our plans at the last minute because my anxiety takes over or if I have a sudden doctors appointment which happens on occasion.

I need help remembering that beauty comes from within, and that my ultimate goal for this year is health and wellbeing not weight loss.

I need help remembering that I’m not alone and that I have friends that care about me, maybe even love me. Even if I feel undeserving.

I need reminders every now and then that I’m a good wife and good mother despite my limitations,

I need you to be a pain warrior sidekick. And remind me that I can kick this years ass with amazingness and change for myself now and for future Jen.

I may never be able to return the favours. I may never deserve the kind of friends that I’ve been blessed with. Reaching out feels scary and vulnerable. But this is me reaching out.

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Dear Future Jen- It’s the Little Things

It's the little things

Dear Future Jen,

It’s 2017 and this year I promised you change. Change comes in many forms, sometimes we think that the changes we make need to be grand gestures, noticeable to everyone around us. But often it is the little things that add up to shift the bigger picture.

Last year I watched (and listened) as my mother in law struggled at the dentist in order to keep her teeth. Painful procedure after painful procedure, she had weekly dentist appointments. It occurred to me that I never have really payed much attention to my teeth. (Does that sound gross?) I’ve just taken for granted that they’ll always be there. But in reality that may not be the case.

I’ve kept up with my dentist appointments but I’m one of those people that when the dental hygienist asks “have you been flossing?”. I always lie and say yes. (And then feel guilty afterwards.) This year, since self-care is the priority, I’ve decided to make that lie into truth and start flossing.

It’s a little thing but I know Future Jen will thank me.

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Dear Future Jen-this is not a weight loss post

future

 

Dear Future Jen,

This is not a weight loss post. Though it may look like one. I look in the mirror and I see the fat on my body and it feels awful. Having fat is so stigmatized in our society that one look in the mirror and I can convince myself that I am worthless just based on that. What society believes about me based on my looks is that I have no value and that I don’t look after myself. And though it’s hard to admit. Painful to admit, they’d be half right. I don’t look after myself.

I don’t think about the food I’m eating. I don’t consider if it has nutritional value or not. I eat when I’m hungry which is how it should be but what I don’t think about is what I’m feeding that hunger with. I have an eating disorder. I eat for comfort, I eat when I’m bored, I eat when I’m upset, I eat to punish myself to damage myself. I eat til my plate is clean and yours is too.

I don’t exercise. I have so much pain some days that getting out of bed is the challenge. But on days when I am able to move more. I don’t because I’m paralyzed by the fear that it will hurt. And so I sit. I lie down. I become more and more sedentary.

I feel like I’m caught in this cycle.

But Future Jen, this year, in 2017 we promised ourselves a revolution. We promised ourselves we’d shake things up and that is just what I intend to do. I don’t plan to cut back on food. I’ll eat when I’m hungry because I truly believe that deprivation is not the way to health. What I will do is think about nutrition and what I want to fuel my body with. I have control over what I eat and I’ll make more conscious decisions. But if I want pie or cheesecake, I’m having pie or cheesecake. (just saying)

I’ll work with my physiotherapist to overcome my Kinesiophobia. I plan to move more this year, though right now I don’t know what that looks like.

So Future Jen, I’ll do all these things not because I want to lose weight. The truth is I’ll always have fat on my body. I do these things because I want life to be better for you. I want you to feel better, more energetic, I want every cell in you to have the nutrition it needs so that you can heal. I’ll do this for you because I know one day you’ll thank me.

 

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