Trying to explain what a migraine feels like to someone who’s never had one often feels impossible. Trying to explain what a migraine feels like when one kid’s crying and another one is blasting music takes that impossible situation to the next level.
That’s why these essays about parenting with migraine headaches are so powerful — they’re written by people who actually get it.
What It’s Like Being a Mother With Chronic Migraines by Tonilyn Hornug, Scary Mommy
Having this condition makes me a mom in name only some days, and sends my mom guilt up to the top of the Guilt-O-Meter, and my head hurts too badly to even let me cry about it. My migraines are a thief, stealing time away from my family. While lying in bed not able to move, I can hear my son and husband laughing, and I know I’m missing out on moments that I can’t get back.
I’m a Mom With Migraines and This Is How it Affects My Parenting by Megan Zander, Romper
I hate how my the status of my migraines dictates my kids' lives. We can be having a great day at the zoo and bam, I'm struck down with a migraine. Or if I'm home with a migraine and they want to play with me, it's hard for them to understand why I don't want to get down on the floor and have a tea party with them. I do my best to try and play through the pain, to last as long as I can before we have to leave for home, or before I have to retreat to the quiet dark of my room. Still, I worry that my boys won't understand.
The Challenge of Parenting Through Chronic Pain by Tonilyn Hornug, Motherly
I choose my words carefully, partially due to the fact that every word is an effort, but also because I want him to know this is my body, my pain. “I will feel so much better, but right now I have a headache. So, you get to spend the day with your dad,” the last part I try to make sound exciting — as exciting as I can sound with what feels like a hot branding iron stuck in my head.
When Mom’s Migraines Attack, it’s OK, Dad is There by Cristina Carrell, Good Men Project
“Mommy is fine, don’t worry,” I hear my husband assure our nineteen-month-old son as he is holding him in his arms. Until he spoke, I hadn’t realized they’d walked into the room. I notice my son staring at me, trying to figure out what I’m doing. Normally, I try not to inject in front of him. He’s too young to understand the reason I’m hurting my own leg: I’m desperately trying to abort a migraine.
Parenting With a Migraine Is Hell by Sara Farrell Baker, Scary Mommy
"As a mother with migraines, my body and mind immediately go into survival mode. I am frantic but purposeful in getting what I need as fast as I can, which is darkness and silence and a bed. I try to anticipate my children’s needs for the next several hours and check diapers and direct bathrooms breaks and pray the entire time that there’s just pee in the diaper and minimal pee on the bathroom floor. I’m not cleaning it up either way right now."
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