This little one joined our family three months ago. Twelve joyful, exhausting, funny, and wonder-filled weeks learning about our daughter, and learning to be parents. We’ve changed one zillion diapers, cried several times over how grateful we feel for this miraculous baby, cried several more times from fatigue, and found one cucumber put back in the cutlery drawer (?).
We tried for over six years to get pregnant, but infertility added to fibromyalgia made this a struggle. I faced challenges ranging from having a laparoscopy for endometriosis, to tapering down my pain medication. The pregnancy itself was surprising- easier in some ways than I’d expected, and harder in others. And now, motherhood with fibromyalgia…
Her magical blue eyes opening wide, the first sign of recognition sparkling in them, her first enormous gummy smiles, her squeals, excited arm flapping and kicking all make me hold my breath, trying to do nothing but enjoy each moment. When she was born, I knew my heart now resided outside of my body, with our little bear.
Being a new mom is also terrifying in the way that new love can be when you realize that your new bond makes you responsible and vulnerable to another person. This is enhanced as a parent, because there’s no back-up coming- you’re it! At six weeks her pediatrician diagnosed her with reflux and possible cow milk protein allergy. Whenever our little one squirms in discomfort, I feel her misery viscerally. Being in charge of making her feel better is overwhelming at times. In fact, learning that you can’t fix everything is a parenting lesson I have a feeling I’ll be re-learning over and over as she grows.
I’m only 12 weeks into this journey, and there is far more that I don’t know than what I do. But I already know it’s different to be a parent with fibro. How do you pace with a newborn? How can you feed or carry her without worsening neck or back pain? How do you manage those internalized expectations about being “supermom” when you have a medical condition? I’ve found it difficult to find stories of shared experiences about parenting a newborn with chronic illness. So, between the cycles of feeding, naptime, and play, I hope I can share some of the challenges and joys of navigating this adventure as a new mom with fibromyalgia.