As I bent down to hug my Grandma Rachel goodbye, she pulled me close to her and whispered in my ear, “You will be a great mother. When the time comes you will be able to do it. Never let fear hold you back from being a mom.”
It’s hard to know where to begin with this topic. Those close to me have known how much this has weighed on my heart and spirit since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. This will probably be one of my more vulnerable posts, and my goal is to be raw and real with you.
I’ve always dreamed of having kids. I pictured that 3-5 years after marriage I would be ready to welcome a little one into our home. I would be a great wife and a natural as a mother. As many of you know, in late 2015 I got sick with Fibromyalgia. My family and friends assured me at the time that this was just a phase. I was young and my body would surely bounce back. Maybe it will, but as of today it has not. It can be hard to describe to others what this looks like on a daily basis, but I will try my best.
Here is a list of my current symptoms:
- Nerve pain
- Muscle pain
- Feeling like my legs are being pulled away from my body
- Sleep Apnea(A sleep study concluded I am disturbed/wake up 10 times an hour)
- Feeling like ants are crawling on my body
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and touch
- Dry eyes
- Chronic fatigue
- Muscle weakness
Since this journey started one word has brought instant anxiety: kids. What once felt like a given, now felt obviously questionable. How could I possibly be a mother with this condition? How could I have a child if I don’t have the muscle strength to hold my Godson for 5 minutes? How could I care for a baby when lack of sleep flares all of my symptoms, making it virtually impossible to keep up with basic needs of a child?
In May of 2017, I suffered a very early term miscarriage. In fact, some might refer to it as a “chemical pregnancy”. This only added to my guilt because I felt that I shouldn’t be as upset as I was. It seemed silly to be so hurt over something I barely had. Although even if it didn’t make sense, this loss triggered all of my feelings and fears that being a mother was not in the cards for me. My body was broken, or at least that is how I felt.
Shortly after this, I had a dream that I had given birth to a beautiful baby girl named “Olive”. I often feel like God speaks to me through dreams and when I woke up I instantly felt like this dream was important. I looked up what the name Olive meant, because it was not a name I had ever considered for a child. Olive means “Symbol of Peace.” In the midst of my chaos, pain, and grieving, I had given birth to a “symbol of peace.” I held this dream close to my heart. I still do.
Fast forward to a couple months ago, I went to go visit my cousin Josh and his new baby son, Asa. I loved spending time with Asa and I found I could hold him longer than I thought I would be able to. Unfortunately towards the end of my trip my body began to flare. It hurt to hold him. It hurt to move my arms. It felt like someone was stabbing me in various places in my body. I was overcome with those negative thoughts once more.
“You will never be a mom.”
“If you can’t babysit, there is no way you could have a child of your own.”
As I left for my trip back to Atlanta, my Grandma Rachel, a chronic pain fighter herself, whispered those sweet words to me.
“You will be a great mother. When the time comes you will be able to do it. Never let fear hold you back from being a mom.”
I wish I could find the words that could explain just how much this meant to me, but it feels indescribable. My response was a very tearful, “Thank you so much Grandma.”
I still have moments of being overwhelmed; moments where it feels like being a mom would be harder than climbing Mount Everest, but I feel hope. Family has been key in pulling me out of my doubt. Wise words from my precious Grandma. Encouraging talks with my cousins. My mother assuring me that God has plan. In fact, every family member has spoken to my fear and gone out of their way to encourage me, but of course the most life giving words have been spoken by my dear husband. My husband, who tells me that this is not my forever. My soulmate, who tells me that if I happen to stay sick, we will make it work. We will be parents, and most importantly, if for whatever reason we never have kids, he would love and support me either way. I am enough for him.
Their kind words of love wash over me. They keep my heart thriving. They keep me thankful. Most importantly, they keep me filled with hope. Hopeful that one day my dream of Olive will become a reality.