It has become so apparent that my life is so vastly different than these dear friend's lives. When we were single we seemed very similar and even with the changes of marriage and pregnancy we seemed so much the same. We had similar careers and hobbies. You would think experiencing motherhood together would make it seem as if we could completely relate to one another and yet, we can't.
It became apparent when I went to visit a dear friend and her 2 week old son. Kaylee was 3.5 months old and I was the veteran mom of the two of us. I went to help my new mom friend as we all know the weeks after a new baby are a fuzzy blur of awe, sleeplessness, confusion, and intense love. I said I would be there around 11:30. I spent the entire morning rushing around trying to get to her house on time. Between bathing the baby, myself, an hour of treatments that were interrupted by a much needed nap, trying to eat breakfast and later a snack, I made it to her house just a few minutes late.
When I arrived she opened the door showered and with make-up on. Her house was completely spotless and she looked well rested. I was a little taken aback because when I had a two week old I remember being tired, the house being a mess, and showers were no longer the daily norm. "How are you doing?" I asked. She responded that she was doing great and that they had spent the morning in bed. In fact, she had just gotten up about 30 minutes prior to our arrival. There was a buzz from down the hall and she ran to get a load of laundry. I am pretty sure my jaw and heart dropped at this point.
I felt like a failure. It had taken me all morning to get out of the house. My home was cluttered and I had a pile of laundry that needed to be done days ago. I should have my act together, I should be the one helping a poor new mom adjust to the demands of a new baby and yet I felt as if I might need her to come and help me out! Oh, my self esteem went down a few notches that day. And yet...
As I thought more about the stark contrast between the two of us later that evening I came to a few realizations. As a person with CF I will never be able to compare myself to nonCFer. And just as I will never measure up to someone that didn't have CF, someone without CF will never understand what it is like to be a CF mom. Here are some of the many reasons I should never compare myself to a non-CF mom:
- I will never be able to get up 30 minutes before someone's arrival because I have at least an hour of treatments to get done not to mention shower, dress, eat, and get the baby ready. So when someone shows up I may not look very rested because I have been up for hours getting ready for the day.
- I spend 2.5 hours a day hooked up to machines and coughing. Other women can spend this time cleaning, baking, or making themselves look pretty. Unless I want to ignore my child all day I will never have as much time to tidy up the house or myself as my nonCF counterparts.
- I may be a little extra tired because my body is already working harder just to breath so that lack of sleep and those night wakings are even harder on my body than that of a healthy mom.
- I need to eat and I need to eat a lot! Being a breastfeeding CFer means I need a lot of calories and so it may be okay for a nonCF mom to skip a meal here and there it just can't happen when you have CF.
- My life will never be like theirs. Like, motherhood my health is a full time job and I never get a day off or a vacation.
I need to change my attitude and look at how well I am doing as a CF mother. I need to remember that I am not the normal stay at home mom, but one that has a chronic condition that requires lots of time and energy. I need to be proud of myself and all I have been able to do despite CF. And yet, it is so hard on days like today, when I am still catching up on laundry, have yet to get dinner started, and need to run the dishwasher so I can load it with the dishes in the sink, to get a phone call from my fellow stay at home mom (of a 1 month old) saying she has been baking all day and wanted to drop off some baked goods. Sigh!