Mother Wound

“Let me not be weak and tell others how bleeding I am internally; how day by day it drips, and gathers, and congeals.”

Sylvia Plath seems to be where I find my voice when I’m feeling a certain strain of depression. It’s usually a sadness entwined with the sting of what I perceive to be injustice. I’ve been watching my daughter lose bits of herself to her own body. This has been happening steadily for the past three weeks. I know what this is like. I have lived this. I watched my son live this. Now it’s my other child, my only other child.

The one thing that helped me the most when I was trying to come to terms with my MS diagnosis was the constant reminding that it was happening to me and not my children. I wrapped myself in that psychological bubble wrap and it helped because I knew it could have been so much worse.  A child in distress quickly becomes an involuntary wound carried by mothers and watching my child go through the physical and emotional thievery executed by an autoimmune disease would be an always-throbbing wound that you know would never go away. These mother wounds are always next to your heart so each throb the wound makes inadvertently pushes against your heart with a heaviness that can make it hard to breathe. Just thinking about it made it hard to breathe at times so I wrapped myself up tight in knowing that it was me and not my children. I focused on my lacrosse-playing son and my dancing daughter. I watched and listened as they played their guitars and hearing them sing…..truly healing.

Almost two years ago my son was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Even before the official diagnosis, I knew it was what I had feared and that he was also suffering from an autoimmune disease. My mother wound throbbed and stabbed. It felt so cruel when he wasn’t able to play lacrosse his senior year of high school, especially after playing the three years before. It was heartbreaking watching him struggle to walk throughout his graduation ceremony to receive his diploma. I felt such a darkness when his hands no longer allowed him to play his guitar. I couldn’t see a way for light to reach any part of it because it was all so wrong and so unfair. It still could have been worse and my son was the one to remind me, quite simply in the car, on our way to one of his rheumatology appointments. I was grateful that my youngest was healthy, dancing, singing, playing the guitar and keyboard and doing the social things her age required- mostly shopping with friends. My son quickly found comfort in knowing his sister was okay and I knew that I had to remind myself often, check my pain and allow him to be comforted.

Today is dark and my mother wound is large and throbbing. First it was her hands. She couldn’t hold her pencil to finish writing the assignment in her history class. Her ankles followed quickly and the white braces they required at a choir concert made for a heartbreaking fashion statement on stage with the uniform black dresses and shoes worn by all the girls. The knees and toes have been swollen for days now and she doesn’t have enough function and is in too much pain to make it to school. The first step of trying to manage with pain medication alone is not working and things seem to just be getting worse. I’m here. I’m in that place I had used for comfort because it wasn’t my reality. I will find new bubble wrap and I will wrap extra around the wound next to my heart because I am a mother and both my children need me to help them. First, I need to find a way to breathe when I can’t.

7 thoughts on “Mother Wound

  1. I too have MS and I have also worked for a charity for many years mentoring chronically ill children and their parents. I know you MS is making you stronger. It is giving you the gift of being able to understand what your children go through. And in this, they too have the gift of seeing you be brave as those famed orange bracelets tell us to be.

    Seeing your child sick is SO much harder than MS. Remember that kids are resilient, younger kids and young adults. My friend Susie has MS and climbed Mount Everest. It was featured in a book last year. Her children also have health problems. Yet, they are one of the happiest, most successful and creative people I know.

    You will find your groove with all this. I am certain! When I have bad days and the spill over into our family too . . . I love these verses . . .

    “I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

    “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a life, a future and a hope.”

    “I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you– the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

    And last but not least “For when I am weak . . . then I am strong.”

    God bless you and your family. I am praying for you. If you need someone to pray with you or just need to talk our online prayer chat and prayer line staff are awesome at CBN. They are always honored to pray for any and every need.

    • Thank you for such kind words! I know it will all be okay, I had grown so full that I needed to let some of it spill over. I also know that journaling is important, even the sad parts. Again, thank you. 🙂

      • I’m glad to hear things are going well there. I know how it feels when some things just need to “spill over”. I am so thankful for the gift of words. It’s how girls like me and you shed that extra weight of our burdens and keep on keeping on.I hope you and your family get to feeling better very soon! I hope they figure out what is going on with your daughter very soon so they can treat it and get her feeling her best.

  2. Pingback: The Silent Broken Heart | HarmonyToMyHeartbeat

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