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Entertaining Kids During a Migraine

Wondering how to take care of your kids when you’re laid up with a migraine? 40 Ways to Entertain Your Kids While Lying Down has some great for suggestions. Some may not be feasible depending on the severity or symptoms of the migraine, but maybe you’ll find some suggestions to keep your kids happy when you’re out of commission. Check the comments for even more ideas.

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Invisible Illness Awareness Week

For National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week this week, its sponsors at Rest Ministries and volunteers have created and compiled a tremendous array of resources for those of us with invisible illnesses.

  • Presentations from the virtual conference cover topics from relationships to work to identity. Several presentations remain this week, but all of them are archived for you to listen to whenever you need a boost.
  • The website has a large collection of articles on a wide range of issues that folks with invisible illnesses — and those who love us — confront every day, like the difficulties of explaining an illness to friends, how to respond when someone is insensitive, and how to help people with invisible illness.
  • The statistics and stories section has some shocking information about chronic illness. Like that nearly half of Americans have a chronic illness, 96% of which are invisible, and the divorce rate among the chronically ill is higher than 75%.

Poke around the site for a bit. I bet you’ll learn something new that will help living with an invisible illness a little easier.

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Second Thoughts on Second Thoughts

Hart had a migraine this morning. So did I. We both slept until 1:30 p.m. and are still in the headache hangover phase. I am so thankful that we don’t have a child to get out of bed, make breakfast for and get to school. I’m even glad we don’t have a dog to feed and take out to potty.

Of course we’d make it work if we had to, but it’s a blessing that we don’t when we have days like this.

Sure, we have second thoughts. We’re 30 and 31 and are watching the joy our friends’ babies bring them. The overwhelming love they feel for their children is beautiful. Even from the outside I know that it’s an astounding experience that is impossible to match by any other.

I am reading Why Do I Love These People? by Po Bronson. I picked it up as a tool to help my own writing, an example of telling other people’s stories without losing their essence. A passage on page 47 almost made me give up on it. It’s about young men and women who choose to not have children.

“They go around saying things like ‘I’m too selfish to be a mother,’ or ‘I’m not a baby person,’ or my favorite, ‘I love my life too much to do that.’ A friend of mine calls them the Petrified Forest — people who would freeze their life in time if they could. . . . When the Petrified Forest imagines parenthood, their hearts are flooded with the feeling of doors closing, not opening. . . . Every account is weighed — every account of sleep deprivation, diminished sex life, a promotion passed over, and social events missed. The Petrified Forest sits like a jury, considering the facts, making their calculations, collecting more evidence. . . .”

“But can those calculations ever truly account for the experience between a parent and a child?”

Who was he to discount the importance of such a decision? Just because he changed his mind didn’t mean I was going to. Besides, he can’t speak for me — my circumstances are special. Hmm, could this be an issue that’s too close to my heart?

Then there’s what happened this morning. In the comments of On Having Kids, my previous post on the topic, someone described having a child with such a severe form of illness as tantamount to “planned neglect.” I identified with that. It’s certainly not the case for everyone, but that’s how it feels in my life.

As I’ve said before, we’ll see what time tells. It’s a choice we have years to make, especially when adoption is an option. You can be sure that I’ll spend those next 15 years second guessing my decision and then second guessing my second thoughts. Maybe our decision will remain the same, maybe I’ll be posting pictures of my baby for you all to see.

By the way, the book is turning out to be terrific, both as an example of storytelling and as a member of a family. It’s a reminder of the capacity of the human heart to forgive transgressions or make excruciatingly painful decisions.

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On Having Kids

By now you’ve probably noticed that I’ve never mentioned having kids. That’s because we don’t plan to.

I decided before I met Hart that I didn’t want to and, fortunately, he was indifferent. Everyone told me that I’d change my mind when I got older. There’s a good chance I would have if circumstances were different.

But they aren’t. My head hurts all the time, some days worse than others. Hart works long hours. It’s hard enough to find time to spend together when I feel good and he’s not at the office. Where would the time be to spend with — or even care for — kids?

I worry about the physical effects too: Hormonal changes during pregnancy and their potential to change my future headaches. Headaches triggered by never getting enough sleep. Stress.

Our most important concern is how it would affect the child. My inability to function for some part of most days. Days or weeks that I can’t get out of bed at all, much less feed a child or take him or her to school. There would be canceled play dates, missed practices, and times I couldn’t go to the school talent show.

When I’ve asked on forums how people cope with having kids and headache, they all tell me it’s worth it. They never tell me how it affects their children. If the topic comes up spontaneously, parents talk about the activities their children miss out on, how much time the kids spend playing alone while their parents lie in bed. And how awful this is for kids and parents.

Some may say that all parents feel guilty for something they’ve done to “damage” their children. I’ll buy that, but our eyes are wide open to the potential for my headaches (and also Hart’s infrequent migraines) to harm a child.

I’m only 30, so we have plenty of time to change our minds. I just don’t think we will.

Please don’t think I’m passing judgment on headache sufferers who have or plan to have children. This is my decision for myself.