Parenting Through Pain

parentingthrupainmain"Mama, play with me?" My three-year-old emptied her LEGOs on the carpet. As I shook my head, her shoulders slumped. "Mama has pain?"

I nodded, closing my eyes against the tears. Lord, what kind of a mother am I when I can't even play with my child? What will happen when I get worse?

After four years of iritis (an inflammation of the iris) with the possibility of losing my sight, and several months of pain wracking my body, I had been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammation that starts in the spinal joints. But my relief at knowing what was wrong and being able to start treatments faded as I faced the degenerative nature of the illness, for which there is no known cure. As my ability to serve my husband and daughters diminished -- I couldn't hold a pan or open the blinds, let alone drive -- I began struggling with the impact of the disease on my teen and toddler. Lord, what will this do to them? Will seeing me struggle scar them for life? Why should my journey of pain be theirs?

Though I was hoping to protect my children from the full reality of my condition, when a severe reaction to a medication left one side of my body with stroke-like symptoms I realized there was no hiding it.

[Read the rest of the article at Answers in Genesis.]