20/07/2014

Guest blog post from a friend, mummy with M.E (1)

I asked a couple of my friends who have children & also have M.E if they would write a guest blog post for me.  Here is the first one, thank you Aly xx



So my lovely friend Ali has invited me to write a guest post for her blog about my experience of ME and being a mum.  To put you in the picture, I met Ali online on an ME/CFS forum in 2007. We began chatting through the messaging service about our experience of having this illness and as we were both planning our weddings within a few months of each other so it was an exciting time for both of us.

Shortly after, we were both trying for a family. Unfortunately due to health concerns with my partner, it was difficult for me to conceive naturally. However in 2009 I began my first course of IVF. This was an anxious time but surprisingly I found the treatment didn't affect me too badly. The process was much less emotional than I thought it would be although it was tough physically and quite invasive. However the outcome was amazing. I got pregnant first cycle and enjoyed a healthy pregnancy. I was one of the lucky ones who seemed to respond well with my ME to the hormones and my symptoms were minimal. I really loved being pregnant. During my pregnancy I had placenta praevia and did up having a c section but it went without incident. I think the fact it was planned helped me feel more in control and organise help for the first few days and weeks after the birth.  In October 2009 I had my lovely healthy little boy.

I  found the newborn stage as much of a challenge as any other new mum but I managed to breastfeed which worked well for me with regard to no bottles during the night etc. and I stayed really healthy during the first year. The fatigue was evident but I rested a lot when he slept and generally had a gentler pace of life. Although I did notice that when I weaned my little boy at six months and the amounts of feeds reduced, that my symptoms became more noticeable. Again this happened when I stopped breastfeeding altogether when he turned one.  I went back to work part time after ten months and although it was a bit of a struggle I managed.

Things became more difficult during the toddler stage. I began to struggle to keep up with the constant entertaining, endless energy he had and the tantrums.
Unfortunately I suffered an awful three month relapse with my ME just after my little boy turned three. This was a very difficult time. My little boy didn't understand why I was sick and could no longer run around with him. My husband worked full time, my parents lived over an hour away and although they were supportive, they couldn't be there every day. My little boy was in nursery three days a week but I still had to do the drop offs and pick ups and the other two days, try to find the energy to look after him. As it was Autumn/ Winter I couldn't just put him out in the garden to play so ended up with a few difficult trips to softplay in an attempt to let him burn off energy, during which time  I was slumped in the corner with noise and light sensitivity. Somehow I got through it and started to improve. I managed to do a gradual return to work at the start of 2013 and it was a further two months before I felt back to how I had been pre-relapse.

Now I consider myself to be only mildly affected again with ME and have mainly good days interspersed with the occasional bad day. My boy is now 4 and able to entertain himself for longer periods,  the tantrums have lessened and I can reason with him. He understands that I sometimes get more tired than usual.

With a long term condition, a lot of consideration has to go into thinking about parenthood. But if it's what you want then there is a lot of help and support out there. For anyone, its an experience that you have to 'learn on the job'. I know its a cliché but there is no rule book and every child is very different. I'm pleased to say that my little boy appears to be growing into a happy, sociable, articulate and confident little boy and I believe I have had a big part to play in that. So it can be done!

Parenthood comes with it's challenges, especially when you have ME and each stage of childhood presents new difficulties but I have to say that I have found it a very rewarding and happy experience and I am so glad our little boy came into our lives.

During pregnancy and the first few years I found the following websites useful: mecfsparents.org.uk, netmums.com here  and mumsnet.com here. If you type ME or CFS in the search facility then a lot of advice and discussions come up which you can browse. I found it very helpful.

Anyway I hope that has provided some insight as to how it can be parenting with ME and a big thanks to Ali for letting me contribute. You can find my blog over at
http://perfectisamyth.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1

Aly

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