The Lessons We Teach Our Children
The thing that I find most challenging about having myasthenia gravis (MG) might surprise you. It’s not the double vision, the prednisone roller coaster, or even the times where my breathing and swallowing have been greatly impacted.
While these things have all been horrible at times, the thing I find most challenging about having MG is being a mom. The mom who is "sick."
Living up to expectations
Like most little girls, I imagined what it would be like to have children. I imagined who I would be as a mom and dreamed of all the things I’d do with my babies. The possibility of being unhealthy doesn’t really cross your minds when you’re little.
I would go as far as to say it doesn’t really cross your minds at all until you’re actually facing chronic illness personally. Expectations versus reality can hit hard sometimes and my experience was no exception.
While I did have 3 healthy years with my oldest son before being diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, symptoms began in my second pregnancy. My littlest has known nothing other than me fighting this disease and my oldest was too little to remember what it was like for me not to be sick.
I remember those first few years with him and wish that I could have continued to be that mom for the both of them. Despite not living up to my expectations as that little girl dreaming of being a mom, there are things about being the "sick" mom I don’t regret.
My children are compassionate
I don’t regret that this illness has shown my boys compassion. Due to the nature of having an invisible illness, a lot of people assume we are healthy or feeling good when we aren’t. My boys have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. They know that everyone they meet could be dealing with things we can’t see.
They can be physical, mental, or emotional challenges. My children know not to take things personally and they know to be more understanding because you just never know what someone is going through.
They appreciate the good times
Another thing I don’t regret about having MG as a mom is how my illness has made my children appreciate life and the good moments so much more. Having an illness like myasthenia gravis can be a roller coaster so you learn to take the good and the bad days as they come.
When the good days do come though, you run with them full speed ahead and my boys definitely know how to do that. It’s shown them gratitude for those good moments and a different type of resilience when the bad moments happen. They know a good moment is just right around the corner and can handle the bad moments with a different mindset. They know that this too shall pass.
We are not perfect
I know that all moms feel guilt and we all wish we could do better and be better for our children because they deserve our best. The reality is that we aren’t perfect and the only thing we can do is put our best foot forward. That doesn’t change whether we are healthy or sick.
I think being a mom means teaching our children life lessons that are relevant to our situation. It means being grateful for when you’re able to be the mom you envisioned for them and being grateful for the moments when we fall short (whether it’s our fault or not).
Although being sick adds an extra challenge to motherhood, we are teaching our children valuable lessons first hand and for that, we should be grateful.
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