Last Updated on October 19, 2021 by melissanreynolds
I have learnt a perhaps unsurprising fact in the year since I have either not worked, or worked less than 10 hours a week. Despite the challenging role of mama to a sometimes stubbornly-against-sleep baby and everything that the first year of motherhood entails, my body responds well to not working. Presumably, more specifically, not working at a computer. And the variety of physical positions in my day. In the stop/starts in the day with a baby.
The key to my physical wellness, sadly, involves not working, or working rather little while also being a mama. Two things that are not possible with a mortgage in Auckland and a baby to raise. Plus, I rather miss going to work.
It’s just sad, beyond belief, that there is no cure for fibromyalgia and that one thing that helps me reduce the all day, every day pain and fatigue of it is more rest than one can afford.
I can write all the things I like about coping. But the crux of the matter is, we can’t afford to rest enough or to purchase all the necessary medicines/treatments etc. to be well without the income. Or, at least, I can’t see how.
Imagine the loss of power, of hope, one feels when they realise that any move that they make will almost certainly result in additional pain and fatigue. Staying up late to do something fun with your husband/partner/best friend. Walking the extra block. Working enough hours to pay the bills.
Part of seeking to live well with fibromyalgia, is to find the balance in these things. To decide what you won’t let fibromyalgia take from you and to cope, stoically (heroically), with extra (MORE) pain and fatigue.
I am doubling my working hours this week, to 15. Within two weeks, I will be working 20 hours, predominantly at the computer, because that is where my skills lie. So my mind has been full of questions: Will I cope? Will I still be a good mama? Will my fatigue worsen? Will my pain worsen? Can I counteract the consequences somehow?
But I go in with many tools to support me. Fibromyalgia is not taking my energy for my baby away from me.
This is a post I wrote when I went back to work with my first son when I had a lot less coping mechanisms. If you would like my best posts for managing fibromyalgia check these out:
Working with Chronic Pain and Fatigue
Ultimate Guide to Managing Fibromyalgia
2 thoughts on “What I Learnt About Fibromyalgia While on Maternity Leave”
I found this quite inspiring, I would love to have children (I’m 34 now), but have been off work a long time because my body can’t cope. I always wonder if I would cope with a pregnancy/ child in my life, as I struggle to care for myself some days. Rest really helps, work = no rest = pain. I really hope you cope and manage the increase in hours, and look forward to reading more posts, best of luck x
Thanks for your comment! I had no chance to plan it and had a lot going on during pregnancy and I didn’t experience a reprieve in my symptoms like some (it was worse). But if you plan ahead, remember all the things that can help you and accept all the help you’re offered, it will help. If your partner understands your fibro, mine doesn’t so it hasn’t been easy. Particularly this first week at my new job, I’ve also had an awful cold. The little guy is worth it, but I don’t know that I could do it again! 🙂