Living with Chronic Pain
7 Things That Parents With Chronic Pain Wish Other Parents Knew
Parents with chronic pain may feel judgment from other parents about how their condition affects their parenting. Unfortunately, they may also feel a lack of support from other parents.
Seven things parents with chronic pain wish other parents knew include the following:
- Having a parent with chronic pain has some benefits. When a child has a parent with chronic pain, they are likely to become more compassionate, thoughtful and independent. They can also become creative problem solvers and find joy in the little things in life.
- Smiling and laughing does not mean my pain is gone. Some individuals with chronic pain choose to hide their pain as much as possible. This is especially true when a parent is doing their best to be present for their child. Although it may not be obvious, pain and challenges still exist behind closed doors.
- Offers to help are appreciated. When another parent offers to take the child of a parent with chronic pain to the zoo with their family or to come to their house for a play date, the offer is greatly appreciated. Although parents with chronic pain may not accept every offer, the gesture means a lot.
- Invitations are appreciated. Parents without chronic pain may assume that a parent with chronic pain will not attend a birthday party or bowling night. However, extending the invite is appreciated. In most cases, the parent will do their best to be there. If they cannot be there, it is usually not personal. Unless a parent with chronic pain specifically asks to be excluded from invites, they are likely grateful for the invitation to attend when they are able.
- Please be careful with your words. Even if well-intentioned, unsolicited medical advice and statements such as “It could always be worse” are not helpful. A listening ear is often what parents with chronic pain need most.
- The guilt is real. When a parent cannot attend an important event, such as their child’s sporting event or a class field trip, they often feel guilty. Being kind instead of judgmental about a parent’s absence or canceled plans is appreciated.
- I can give my child what they need most from me. Not all parenting looks the same. Parents with chronic pain may not be able to do everything other parents can do, but they can provide their child with plenty of love and attention.