There is nothing like snuggling your sweet baby close, and one of my favorite ways to snuggle is by wearing my babies... but I had to give it up. Why would I give up something I hold so near and dear to my heart? Baby wearing is bad for my health.
Neck pain is a large part of my chronic migraines. If my neck is too stiff, or if I put too much pressure on my neck it can trigger a migraine. Therefore, putting on my favorite Lenny Lamb carrier and letting L nap on me while I get some things done hands free can be the worst thing for me. I probably only had L in the carrier half a dozen times when he was little before I finally caved and hung it in the back of the closet. I have had to give up many things because of my migraines ... turkey lunch meat, tequila sunrises, MSG packed snacks, concerts... but the most difficult thing to give up is wearing my baby.
Don't think this means my children aren't held! Trust me, L's favorite place to be is on my hip and when N was a baby he was like a little piece of velcro. L loves to be up high, close to me and keeping an eye on what I am doing. I have become efficient at doing lots of chores one handed/left handed - folding laundry, making beds, unloading the dishwasher, and filling juice cups and snack orders. L's absolute favorite thing is to be on my hip watching me like a hawk while I cook. My arms have become so strong through motherhood that I have had to donate most of my favorite plaid button downs! (Thank you Target for "helping" me replace them haha)
Motherhood (and fatherhood) is all about finding your balance and what works best for your family, and I think that it's even more true when you have to frame all that you do with a chronic illness. Simple things that other parents would never even think much about, I second guess and try to strategize all the time. We don't go to the movies or anywhere loud. Jeremy is the "outside" parent. N knows that Mommy can only handle about an half hour at a time outside for bubbles, puddles or "chalk walk" (sidewalk chalk)... and that when Daddy has time with him outside their adventures and fun are limitless. I have to decide if I have enough energy for a simple trip to the library. I know that if we do leave the house I will only have energy for one thing, so we spread out errands. Any parent knows how tiring it can be to shuffle kids to varies activities and obligations, but doing it with a chronic illness takes it to a whole other level. Usually, if I push myself, I end up with a migraine. My life is a careful balance of making the most of each moment and weaving my way through the bad days.
The best thing that I have done for myself is to accept my chronic migraines and limitations. That doesn't mean that I don't feel guilty, but I try not to dwell on it. Each day I wake up and have to assess what my body will let me accomplish for the day. Sometimes I will be able to feel like supermom and check off my whole list, and other days simply taking a shower makes me feel like I ran a marathon. I may not have been able to take N outside today, but we colored, played games, snuggled, watched his favorite show together, snacked, read books and enjoyed being together. I may not have been able to put L in the baby carrier today, but we played peek-a-boo, he tried a new food, we saw birds out the window and he fell asleep in my arms. I think they will remember all of that more than me saying we couldn't go outside today.