Are you a mother with a chronic illness? If yes, then you understand that our bodies struggle with physical limitations that ebb and flow. If you are struggling with symptoms of a chronic illness, then you are inevitably going to have good days mixed in with bad days. Unfortunately, that is the nature of a chronic illness.
Over the years, I’ve come to the realization that there are MANY things you should never say to someone struggling with a chronic illness, in particular to a sleep deprived, physically exhausted, mentally despairing, frazzled new mother, who is also suffering from the compounding effects of a chronic illness.
Here are a few suggestions for what NOT to say to a mother with a chronic illness:
1. “I am just as tired as you are.”
2. “You don’t look sick!”
3. “You MUST be feeling better because I see you are running around with the kids.”
4. “Have you tried holistic treatment?”
5. “Have you tried going gluten free? Dairy free? What about trying vitamins?”
6. “Why can’t you bring the kids over to see me/us?”
7. This coincides with #6. “Why can’t you do ‘x’ activity with us today – since you did ‘y’ activity with them yesterday!?”
8. “I hope you get well soon.”
9. “You look great!”
10. “Thank goodness it’s not cancer.”
Have you ever been frustrated with something someone said to you about your health and well-being, in relation to your chronic illness? In a perfect world, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone knew the right thing to say to everyone, all the time? What are some things that you would rather hear? Please share them below.
Mommy has Ehlers Danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and was recently diagnosed with chronic fatigue. She strongly focuses on periods of rest and recovery from activities, and active days with her friends and family. When she is not resting or taking care of her family and the home, Mommy dedicates time to volunteering at the local adult and children’s hospitals and blogs about motherhood and chronic illness. She manages the Mommy Isn’t Feeling Well support group on Facebook, where mothers from all over the country support each other on the journey of motherhood and chronic illness. Mommy lives in California with her husband, their two young and very spirited boys, and their Labrador “daughter.” Her blog can be found here.