Contributed by Guest Blogger, Amanda, aka Dumb Mom from Parentingbydummies.com
Being diagnosed with a chronic illness before celebrating my 30th birthday was shocking.
Not to mention frightening and life changing and pretty unbelievable!
As a young mother to two small children planning to have another, I had to take into consideration a number of things people in different life stages don’t frequently have to consider. Things like how taking medication may affect my fertility and subsequent pregnancies, how the side affects of medication would inhibit my daily ability to perform my duties as a mother to a toddler and infant, and how having a life long illness would play into the lives of my husband and very young children.
I even had to weigh the pros and cons of delaying treatment until after the birth of my youngest child; all things that could affect not only my personal well being, but that of my entire family.
Diagnosis was an emotionally and physically stressful time for me and my family, but we’ve moved past that and are coping with my kidney disease together.
But, four years post diagnosis there are still concerns.
Tips for Moms with Chronic Illness
Know your insurance. Both health and life. These are things you don’t necessarily concern yourself with when you’re young and seemingly healthy; sure you have them and know you need them, but are you intimately familiar with your coverage? Do you realistically know what sort of benefits your children and spouse would be entitled to should you fall ill or worse? I wasn’t. I had to navigate the waters of health insurance referrals and life insurance obtainment when it was the last thing I wanted to be thinking about. It’s hard to imagine that anything like this will happen to you, especially when you’re young and healthy and fit. But, I urge all people to get to know their health and life insurance policies BEFORE they absolutely have to in order to avoid the frustrations you may encounter once you’re in the system and trying to work it. Already diagnosed? Pull out those forms and immediately get to know your insurance providers. You’ll be glad you did!
Consider childcare. Childcare is an extreme expense for every family, but for those of us with an illness that causes us to attend multiple doctor’s visits or just need extra time to rest or recover, it’s important to have a childcare provider, even if it’s just a family member or friend, that you can call on at a moment’s notice. This person could seriously come in handy one day.
Read the labels. Especially if you are pregnant, or considering it, or even just nursing a baby. Knowing what you’re putting into your body is always important, and I became diligent about researching my medication before I agreed to taking it, but it’s even more important when your body is also supporting another human. I had to make the choice to delay treatment of my disease until after I gave birth and then weaned my son, but that’s not always possible and it’s important to know the affect your medications can have on your unborn or newborn child.
Stay healthy. It’s always important to eat a balanced diet and fit in exercise, but it’s even more so the case for those of us with chronic illnesses. Ensuring that your body is in it’s most vibrant shape whenever possible can only prove beneficial when combating your illness. Plus, strong bodies make for strong minds, something that will also help you make it through those grueling moments of pain and illness and frustration that are infinitely exacerbated by having to do things like deal with an afternoon tantrum or wake up at night to attend to a baby.
Find support online. For me, as a business owning mom to three young children, I didn’t (and still don’t) have time to find people with similar life experiences to connect with. Plus, it’s not like having a chronic illness at 28 with three young children to care for is the most common situation anyway! I hopped online to connect and have found support from women via my personal blog and other groups I’m a part of. I have recently even begun my own community for moms with chronic conditions to connect and am hopeful that it will grow into the community I was looking for when I was diagnosed!