When Mothers Get Sick

As a mum getting sick is a big deal. It becomes more challenging if you are living far away from relatives and close friends. Living overseas, you have no choice but to face it head strong.

Families who have trustworthy house helpers are fortunate because there is an option for the mum to rest. There is someone who will take care of other mundane responsibilities. For others like me who live only with my family, getting sick is one roller coaster ride of emotions.

I have written 12 sure effects when the mother gets sick and relatives are not around to help.

  1. The everyday routine gets changed.

The mum suddenly becomes terribly ill. The dad has to file a leave of absence to take care of his wife and children. All the responsibilities of the mum fall on the shoulders of the dad who gets to clean, wash, iron, cook and other activities that he doesn’t usually ALL do.

baby and dad
Done cleaning! Next, poop checker time.

Cheers to you mum if you have a supportive husband or partner who willingly does the dirty work.  Schedule of friends assisting you gets changed too. You don’t have to ask because they will volunteer out of love.

  1. Mum’s whole family gets affected mentally and emotionally.

Since the beginning of the children’s consciousness, they saw their mum as smart, funny, strong wonder woman. Due to mum’s illness, the household starts to have a hard time accepting what their mum is going through. The family becomes anxious. This applies to young mums, middle-aged mums and aging mums.

During the time I was sick with the dreaded flu, I was throwing up non-stop and was taken to the emergency room. My youngest son told me, “Mum, please don’t die.”  I realized that it is essential to explain to children what is going on.

  1. The mum gets a wake-up call that she abused her body to the fullest.

I have a list of sure-fire ways that mums most often do that make them SICK.

  1. Working late
  2. Short hours of sleep or no sleep at all
  3. Eating unhealthily or not eating at all
  4. No time to rest (busy, busy, busy… Did I say we are busy?)
  5. No coping strategy for stress
  6. Resentment building up because you are too tired
  7. Taking more responsibilities than what you can handle
  8. Sleepless nights thinking about an issue
  9. Keeping all the pent-up emotions both at home and at work

If you are doing almost all the activities in the list, then you are a candidate for a future illness. We always feel that we can do it all. We tend to convince ourselves that we can get away with it.

When our body breaks down, it demands attention. As if it is screaming, “You are not that young anymore! You didn’t take good care of me. It’s payback time!”

woman in a bathtub
Too tired to care

What we are now physically is the result of how we used our bodies for many years. This is my regret. If only I could have been more physically active when I was younger,  I wouldn’t have this jiggly belly now. The good news is, it is not too late. I am starting my small manageable changes towards healthy living.

  1. The relationship of husband and wife is tested.

The vow in sickness and in health is a huge responsibility. You are not only a mum to your children but a wife for their dad. It will take open communication, determination, understanding, commitment and love for the relationship to survive. Intimacy goes to the background and companionship surfaces when the wife gets ill.

When you see the mum of your children suffering, it takes a strong-willed partner to boost her morale, to ignite hope and inspire faith to hold on. If ever you were able to surpass an illness with the help of your partner then truly, you are blessed.

couple near the river
Don’t worry. We will get through this.
  1. Maturity among children quickly develops.

When they see their father that he cannot carry out all the responsibilities, the children become mature enough to help because they understand the situation of the family.

hand washing the fork
5 minutes later: Mum, I finished washing the fork!

On the other hand, if the father is working far away, the children help their mum recover by doing the chores or help her with medication and other physical needs like going to the bathroom. Circumstances like these create well-rounded individuals because, at an early age, they learn that life is not easy.

  1. The family gets sick and the cycle repeats.

Mum came home sick. After three days, the youngest child gets sick, then the dad then the rest of the family. When all the family members already recovered from the dreaded flu, the cycle repeats and one of the children gets sick again. This is an OH MY GOSH moment.

hand with fireworks
Trying to have positive vibes when everything is not right
  1. Recovering from an illness forces the mum to have lifestyle changes for the better.

As a mum, a surgery gives you a reality check. It makes you thankful to the Lord that you have survived it. Waking up the next day gives you a feeling of hope, a brand new start and a second chance to make things right. One of them is changing your lifestyle.

Collecting your thoughts while lying in bed leads you to the conclusion that you didn’t make the right choices in your life for your body to suffer like this. The doctor tells you about diet and exercise. Ha! All of us already know the words DIET and EXERCISE.

We are just too stubborn to do the right thing. We rather eat the delicious food considered bad for us than eat the healthy ones. When the illness becomes deadly serious, that is the only time we try our best to change. Hopefully, it is not too late.

vegetable salad
Hello, salad. We meet again!

 

  1. As mum, you get the chance to sit, wait and observe. ( so rare)

Every day of our lives, we are so busy. Life becomes a blur. Waiting for your appointment, you start to notice the people sitting near you waiting for a medical check-up.

Why are they having a blood test? Why is the man using crutches? Why does the woman look so sad? Why is the man staring at the wall utterly absorbed by his own thoughts? The mum holding the crying baby looked like she hadn’t slept for days. Some people that go out of the doctor’s room looked relieved, worried and aching. Observing them made me say a prayer for myself and for their health.

The cliché HEALTH IS WEALTH is an absolute truth. It is so good to enjoy life with a healthy body than miserably sick all the time.

  1. The mental toughness of the mum is challenged.

If the illness is life threatening, you will do, try and research anything just to get you to the road of recovery.

I know mums who are struggling with this difficulty because of cancer. Every time I see this mum, I notice a peaceful aura in her. She told me that as a cancer survivor, she learned that you have to take care of yourself.  Appreciate every day and eat healthily. I ate brown rice and bitter gourd because of her. Perspective evolves.

Mums often forget to take good care of themselves. They consider themselves last in the priority. I only learned this lesson the hard way when I got sick. I SHOULD PRIORITIZE ME because if I will not take care of myself, the family I love will suffer too.

Do not be in a hurry to DIE.
  1. You will know who cares.

People in your life who cares will go out of their way to keep in touch, visit or help you. The ones who stay are worth keeping.

  1. As an elderly mum, giving up your independence is too difficult to accept.

You have been doing all the chores your whole life. Driving or traveling alone was not an issue. At present, your adult children are now deciding about schedules when to drive you to the market or see the doctor.

The options are: You are living with one of your sons or daughters.  There is a nurse looking after you at home. The treatment of your illness is being done at a  hospital. It is an ego-diminishing, feeling helpless activity part of life.

Sometimes, there is a clash between the elderly mother and her children. For so long, the mother makes the decisions. Now, her adult sons and daughters have more say in the matter. This applies to elderly fathers as well.

old lady crying
I miss the feeling of being needed so much.
  1. As a middle-aged mum, taking care of sickly aging parents and young children is a struggle.

This is the stressful part of being a middle-aged mum. Your parents are getting old and becoming more sickly but at the same time, your young children are taking most of your time and attention with their overall needs. It is a juggling act which the worst part is the elderly mum, you the middle-aged mum and the child are simultaneously sick. It will happen.  It is not good to endure this alone. You will need all the help that is available.

frame showing the message give thanks

Illness comes to one’s life in a time when you least expect it. Appreciate all the things that you can do now that you take for granted: sitting, standing, walking, peeing, pooping, reading, sleeping and others. Be thankful that you can all do that. Others couldn’t even sit due to a terrible disease. It is an excruciating effort just to pee.

Mothers will always sacrifice to the detriment of their health. My dear reader, please remind them to stop and relax for a while. Treat them for a time of togetherness with you while she still can. Do not wait for the moment she will get sick and spend time with her. You might not have another chance.

If you are a mum reading this, especially a single mum, my wish for you is not to forget to look after yourself. I wish you GOOD HEALTH and more JOY in your life.

Take care and share this article!