4 Tips for Balancing Parenthood With Chronic Pain

Parenting is the best and most difficult job you will ever have. When you are experiencing chronic pain, however, the challenges of parenting well can feel insurmountable. The good news, though, is that chronic pain does not have to undermine your ability to parent well, nor does it need to diminish the joy of the experience.

Balancing Parenthood With Chronic Pain

The key is to learn to balance parenting with self-care. This article provides strategies for managing your chronic pain while parenting.

1.  Learn Your Triggers

The greatest challenge of chronic pain is that, by definition, it never really goes away. Nevertheless, there are almost inevitably some triggers that worsen your pain and remedies to mitigate it.

Identifying when and why your pain worsens can help address the root causes. For instance, chronic back pain may be triggered or exacerbated by being overweight. Similarly, chronic and severe headaches may result from untreated or poorly managed dental problems or disorders of the neck and jaw.

You may also find that your pain increases in certain weather conditions, such as high humidity or cold temperatures, or that you feel worse the day following a specific physical activity, such as running or golf.

Once you understand what amplifies pain, you can take proactive measures to address the issue. If you’re expecting inclement weather, for instance, you might make advance arrangements for childcare so that you will be free to rest and attend to your needs while you are feeling unwell.

Likewise, if a specific activity triggers your pain, look for an alternative, such as substituting swimming or gentle yoga for hiking and golfing.

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Image by [email protected] from Pixabay

2.  Find Support

No parent can make it alone. You don’t have to suffer from chronic pain to need support now and again. However, when you have persistent pain, the need for outside support is all the more important. You mustn’t succumb to either the superhero or the martyr complex. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it.

In addition to planning for your most difficult days, it’s also vital to schedule time every day for rest, relaxation, and recreation. After all, living with pain is by no means easy. You need time to decompress, care for your body and mind, and to nourish your spirit. Allowing a trusted caregiver to attend to your little one for a few hours each day so that you can be free to sleep, read, soak in a hot bath, or get out and about for a while isn’t selfish; it’s essential. There’s no greater gift you can give to your child than a mum or dad who is as healthy and happy as possible.

3.  Make Your Home Self-Care Friendly

When dealing with chronic pain, you may quickly discover that your home is filled with unexpected obstacles. For instance, those decorative throw rugs you bought to jazz up the place may present a significant fall hazard. Those antique doorknobs may be painful or impossible to manage day in and day out.

Taking the time to tailor your home to your evolving medical needs will ensure that you have a safe and comfortable space for you and your child. You will likely experience less pain and fatigue and fewer injuries, which means you can be stronger, healthier, and more present for your little one.

4.  Be Creative with Quality Time

Spending quality time together is more important for the parent/child relationship. When you’re experiencing persistent pain, however, you may not be able to share in all of your child’s favourite activities. You may be unable to get down on the floor and play with trains. You may not have the stamina or mobility for an impromptu game of football in the backyard.

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Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay

That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t embrace and maximise every opportunity to bond with your child. The key is to understand and accept your limitations and find creative ways to work within them. If you can’t attend your child’s sports match or dance recital, have a relative live stream it for you on their tablet. If you can’t go on a hike with your little one, pitch a makeshift tent around your bed and spend the evening telling ghost stories, reading books, and eating chocolates and crisps by lamplight.

The Takeaway

Parenting is tough. So, too, is living with chronic pain. But your diagnosis does not have to interfere with your ability to parent. It is possible to balance parenthood with chronic pain. The key is prioritising self-care, enlisting support, knowing and accepting your limitations, and being creative. Remember that what matters most is not your condition but the love and memories you share with the little light of your life.

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