You’ve probably heard this term a time or two before, even if you don’t have children. It’s the nearly crippling guilt that comes from being a mom and dropping the ball when it comes to your children.
All mothers experience this kind of guilt at some point, and that knowledge is a bit of a comfort to me right now because this week; it’s been eating me alive.
Between the temperature drop, the cold rain, and the surplus of bad pain days that followed — my brain has been foggy and I am more forgetful than usual. I managed to forget to attend the parent teacher conference for my eldest and I missed watching my youngest get his first ever Kindergarten award.
I mean, I know that I’m a hot mess 90% of the time, but I typically don’t miss important things like parent teacher conferences and award ceremonies. But this week, I did and the guilt weighs heavily on my heart.
I know I’m not that first or only mom to experience the gut-wrenching guilt over missing something important. The best thing I can do is breathe and try again next week, but damn it’s hard.
Chronic pain doesn’t make it any easier, either. It comes with it’s own hefty servings of guilt.
Chronic pain doesn’t pay the bills, so I can’t comfort myself by saying “well, I missed this event, but I’m making money for my family!” It just robs me of my time, time that I could spend with my kids or doing the fun activities I have to cancel because getting out of bed was a challenge and I know I just don’t have the energy or endurance to do said activity, and that’s if I can remember to cancel through my foggy brain. The bad pain days make me feel guilty because I can’t do all the things that I want to do, that I need to do.
I feel like a deer when I walk; like my left foot is a hoof instead of a foot. Since the surgery, the toe beside the pinky toe has completely folded beneath the middle toe. It’s uncomfortable and painful, and for some reason this new position my toes are in seems to affect my achilles tendon.
I haven’t been able to go on as many walks as I usually go on. I used to go on at least three walks a week. I think I’ve been on three walks in three weeks, and they were short ones, and they were difficult…so difficult.
I keep telling myself that it takes time to heal, because it does take time to heal. Healing doesn’t happen over night. But it’s kind of scary thinking about all of my plans and all of the things I want to do with my family this year, and how challenging it is for me to even just walk to the bus stop. I can’t help but wonder how I’m supposed to tackle Legoland? The zoo? The Science Centre? Camping?
And truth be told — I’m even more anxious than usual about the prospect of wearing flip flops. The reactions to my foot have varied from repulsion to amusement prior to this surgery, when my toe was only slightly curled beneath the other.
It shames me to admit that I’m really embarrassed about my foot, that I’m not looking forward to ever showing it to anybody, that for the first time since adolescence…I might even go out of my way to find a pair of summer shoes I can wear that hide my toes. It shames me because I’m trying to teach my boys that they are perfect (because they are, they truly are), and yet in the same breath…I’m resenting this new part of me.
I’m resenting it because it hurts, because it’s uncomfortable, and because yet again — a surgery did not fix all. Like I’ve said before, MHE surgeries are hit and miss. For example, my hip feels incredible compared to what it felt like before the surgery. I’m no longer sitting on a golf ball. My hip doesn’t feel so heavy when I try to move it. My wrist doesn’t snap every time I turn it, but I did bring on different issues by having that tumor removed. It’s still stiff and sore and quite weak and if I get hit hard, fall down, or do anything drastic to that wrist I risk the likelihood of re-fracturing my tendons and damaging them even more. I still have limited mobility but I suppose I’ll take all that over the nasty snapping sensation.
But every time, I tell myself this will work. I will be better. I will be able to do ALL THE THINGS, and then when that isn’t true — when the bitter disappointment seeps in, I have to retrain my brain and heart. I have to adjust.
This adjustment period isn’t always a smooth one, it isn’t always paved with the positive outlook I struggle to hold on to. It’s riddled with dark days and set backs, and so much guilt, because I feel as if I’ve wasted everyone’s time by forcing them to help me during my recovery from a surgery that didn’t heal all.
But it will happen; I will adjust. My stubbornness will prevail and I will cope.
I always do.