The Guilt of Being a Chronically Ill Mama

The Guilt of Being a Chronically Ill Mama

Shireen Hand Endometriosis My Life With You

When the thoughts of having a child first popped into my mind, I imagined a life much different than the one I now lead.

In an ideal world — a “normal,” non-chronically ill world — I would have been working and providing for my family in a home of our own. Having fun times and holidays with my little family. Instead, I often find myself having to drag myself out of bed, unable to leave the house, popping pills left, right, and center — all just to get by.

This lifestyle (reality) was, without a doubt, something that I thought about in great detail before we even started trying for a baby. We planned, we saved, we had our home and everything we needed. All the usual, practical things. But would my health obstruct all that planning?

I also had this pipe dream that pregnancy might well solve all my endometriosis problems. The old “pregnancy will cure endometriosis” thoughts that stick at the back of your mind. A pipe dream, it certainly was. We tried for two years before we went through in vitro fertilization. The pregnancy was fraught with complications. The birth was pretty traumatic, to say the least. But, we got our baby, and for the first few months, life was (exhausted) bliss.

Unsurprisingly, slowly but surely, my bad health crept back in. A few aches and pains here, periods returning sooner than I thought they would, agonizing tummy pains. Life as a new mother is challenging on its own, but throw illness into the mix and it becomes a balancing act.

Looking in from the outside, I guess I’ve not done too badly, for the most part. Of course, I’ve not done it all on my own. But our baby is a normal, happy little 3-year-old boy now, and he certainly doesn’t go without playtime. But I often find myself overcompensating in other areas to make up for all the times I need to rest instead of play. For all the times I cannot leave the house and take him out.

I think little things like going for a walk, playing in the park, or having the energy for simple play at home are often taken for granted. They sound like such easy tasks for an able-bodied person. And that’s where the guilt creeps in.

I so want to be able to do all these “normal” everyday things. Not just every now and then, but all the time. I look at our little boy and I feel like he misses out on so much, all because of me.

Parenting with a chronic illness (or several) is hard work. But it sure has made me appreciate what we do have and all the things we do get to do, all the more.

You can follow more of my journey over at


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