I had mastered the art of powering through migraine. By this I mean the way when you have a migraine, but you can’t neglect your responsibilities. You medicate and just get through the day as best you can. And I was a master at it. Living with chronic migraine when you are a stay at home mom with two small children I felt I did not have a choice. This was my job, and I couldn’t let my family down. Sound familiar? Moms don’t have time to be sick. I would take a triptan put on sunglasses and a hat and show up as much as humanly possible until “powering through” broke me completely.
In 2015 I got mono. I had had a lot of stressful events in my life my migraines, my parents’ divorce, problems in my marriage, and then I decided that that was the time to get a puppy. (what the heck was I thinking?). My body shut down and got mono, which I couldn’t shake for about two years, probably because I was still trying to power through. Then last year I got 60 migraines in 80 days and I finally had to accept defeat. I was facing my very supportive husband having a business trip to a foreign country for 8 days and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had hit a wall and I had no choice. So, we squeezed the household budget a little more and hired someone to help me literally one day before he left. I could finally stop powering through.
What happened next
It was the best thing I ever did. My savior’s name was Julia. She would pick my kids up for me in the afternoon and take them where they needed to be and then bring them home again. She made sure they did their homework and would fold my laundry or empty the dishwasher, so I didn’t get too behind. It was the very best thing I could’ve done for myself at that time. I could rest and sleep if I needed to and finally FINALLY let my body recover from years of powering through. I took a nap every day! I could sleep in the afternoon when I was most exhausted. Also, I could let go of the anxiety of how am I going to get through this day when I feel so horrible? I finally didn’t have to anymore. I feel so fortunate that we were able to hire this lovely woman to help. I know a lot of people in this position cannot. I wish I could give every mom I know a Julia who could save them mostly from themselves and the art of powering through migraine.
Why did it take me over two years? Stubbornness and pride. How could I as a stay at home mom actually pay someone else to do my job? It felt like such a failure to the “I can do it all I can have it all” mentality I was brought up with. In many ways my personal experience of being a child of a woman of the 70s, I was brought up to believe I could do anything and have everything. I now feel after speaking to many women both working inside the home and out, that mentality is partially to blame for my stubbornness. I wish the mantra had been more like “you have choices.” Then I wouldn’t have made myself feel like such a failure and so guilty for not even being able to do my mom job properly even though I was very sick. Working moms also feel different forms of guilt and failure in the forms of I missed this milestone, or I can’t be there enough.
The reality is we have choices in our lives that generations before us never did, and I appreciate them so much, but women cannot do it all and have it all. Something always has to give whether or not it’s your career or your home life. This is so especially, if you have chronic migraine. Give yourself a break. Rest as much as you can so you can show up for your children. They won’t remember a clean house, how successful you were, or the laundry being done, but they will remember the time you are able spend with them when you weren’t sick. Do you have any experiences with the art of powering through migraine? Please share below! As always if you need help I’m here.