Friday, March 18, 2016

Being A New Mommy with Endometriosis

'It is Heavy, She is Light', watercolor, 2016, Christy Grace
As I write this, it is March 2016 and Endometriosis Awareness month. Though I am finally getting some time and have processed internally enough to rehash some of my endometriosis and surgery experiences, I wanted to give a current update.


Sometimes pregnancy can change a woman's body enough that endometriosis will no longer be an issue. I heard this while going through surgeries and fertility treatments and I was wishing that would happen in my body - though that would be miracle upon miracle. This didn't happen to me but I am so very grateful for the blessing of our little girl, Eliana.

Oxytocin, the bonding hormone. Painting by Christy Grace

That said, I have been extremely frustrated in how I feel my body is failing me. Two short months after the birth of my daughter my period returned even though I was exclusively breast feeding. The pain, exhaustion, and digestive issues were back almost immediately and by month four, I was prescribed birth control pills to slow the spread. The birth control pills have a warning on them which states that they are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. I actually refused to take my first pack of pills out of fear that I would hurt my daughter somehow. I talked to the doctors and pharmacists and got on the lowest dose possible and finally started taking them when I was afraid the pain would eclipse my ability to care for Eliana.

Birth Control Warning Label
One of the reasons nursing women avoid birth control pills is the fact that it can lower the milk supply. I found that it affected me immediately and that caused stress which further decreased the amount. Ugh! I did a lot of research and found some supplements and food choices to help supply. I kept with it and, though it has been a roller coaster, I have been able to keep giving my daughter the benefits of breastmilk along with the bonding that nursing brings.

Along with the pain of endometriosis, I have started to notice other pains in my body. I feel like an old woman though I am now just 31. There are muscles and joints that hurt when they should not. Areas of my body and skin feel bruised and sometimes when my husband tickles me, it feels like his fingers are digging in way too deep. I am also exhausted (but what mom is not?) and I feel like my brain is floating in a thick fog. All of this has added up to the possibility of fibromyalgia. I have appointments coming up to look into that deeper. They first have to rule out other things. Through X-rays, the docs have already found the beginning of osteoarthritis in my right knee. Okay, that explains pain there but what about the rest of me?

Really, body? I don't have time for this.
I made this sketch for my docs so I would not forget anything.

I have been processing a lot of this through art and now through words and that has helped. I also have a group of moms, family, and church and close friends that will listen. I still have fears and hopes.

• I fear that I will not be a good mom. I'm afraid of missing out on the precious seconds of Eliana's life while distracted with pain, exhaustion, or mental fog.

• I fear my husband and those close to me will tire of the real answer to their "How are you today?" questions. I am already embarrassed to have complaints and to need help but I am learning to accept it; I just worry about being a burden.

• I fear what my body could become as I age, if this is 31.

• I hope that even though it is rough, I can be the tough lady that I am and work through the pain whenever I can.

• I hope my continuous work to improve my health through workouts, diet, and other self-care will make a difference.

• I hope to be able to keep up with Eliana as she becomes mobile and I need to keep her safe.

• I hope to be the mommy I want to be for Eliana - loving, kind, creative, fun, encouraging, and present.

• I hope to be a good wife, sibling, daughter, and friend to those close to me. Though I know self-care is important, I desire to not be a detriment to those I love so much.

• I hope to find the right balance through all of this, though I know it is a continuing journey.

I wish to always lift you up in so many ways.
Photo by Naomi Walsh. Matching hats by Kelsey Dolezel.
Thank you so much for reading/listening. I am doing my best to continue smiling and kickin' butt and am grateful for outlets like this for my words and art.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Charity, I felt like I was reading my story. Every single line is exactly what is happening to me and how I feel as a mother. I am typing and crying, thank you for sharing and for this beautiful paintings that represent exactly how I feel.

    Cynthia Sparks