Chronic Forgiveness



It wasn’t so long ago that I thought I’d be, well, great. I thought I could hit all of the local events, I could get my kids into all of the activities. I could join all of the mom workout stuff and get professional photos for my Facebook page.  I’d have my marathon stickers all over the car, I’d hang my work awards in my office with pride. And any hobby I’d mastered over the weekend (while keeping up with the house, meal planning, and all other tasks) would be pictured on my Instagram or Pinterest page because that’s what you do when you’ve got it all together.

If this describes you, I’d like to shake your hand. Even if you hit this mark some of the time. I believe all moms that wake up every day and do normal things are amazing. If you shower and walk around, even if you know you can trust your body to do some basic things like go to the grocery store when you’d like to (not when you feel like you can), you’ve just blown my mind.

My reality

Epilepsy knocked those expectations out of me. It even took my job from me, hurt my marriage, and took away some of my friends. In fact, every time I think I’m getting back on track to and getting closer to that ideal, I’m back at the hospital for the thousandth time for some terrible seizure the night before. It happened this week. I’m fine. Fine meaning that I’m back to where I was before. I’m in recovery and I’m wondering if I can do this again. I’m wondering if I can actually sit down and write because of the sense of failure that I feel as a person and as a mom just becomes palpable with every stretch between seizures. Can I focus on the writing the letter “w” fifteen times tonight when my body aches so badly? Does that make me an awful mom? Selfish?
Having chronic illness has been a non-gift that keeps on giving. But in the same sense, it’s been a “reset button” reminder that I don’t have to fit into anyone else’s mold because I can’t. I can’t make plans like other people. I have to cancel when I’m not well. Some friends just can’t be flexible with that type of schedule. My body betrays me regularly. And some days I’m really angry about all of this and some days I’m really sad.
But It doesn’t matter.
My feelings about myself, the self-loathing and self-hatred don’t do much good. In fact, the days I sit and think about how much I’ve lost are the worst. I get tired of the people who think I don’t try enough or that I AM doing enough. I guess, just like most moms, I get tired of what people think about how I’m parenting. I know the focus has to be on what I am able to do and how I choose to move forward each and every day. 
But I definitely know I am not alone. I’ve spoken with so many moms about the struggle with this idea of perfection or even just normalcy all the time. I just want you to know that if you are reading this that you are doing the best you can.
When your body is as predictive as the weather your only umbrella is your attitude, so you might as well open it when it rains.
That’s why I’m suggesting to all mom’s out there who have a chronic illness that this year we should give ourselves a very realistic present. Let’s forgive ourselves for one day. For one entire day let’s be the mom who isn’t fighting inside her own body, but just loves herself the way she is. Who knows, it might feel so great it could last awhile. The weather might not even matter, we might be dancing in the rain.


  1. Excellent !!! Love this. Remember we never know what people are dealing with. Sometimes behind someone’s smile there is pain !

  2. Thank you for this heartfelt reminder to moms that forgiveness is freedom! When we forgive ourselves for not being all the things we think we “should” be, we are free to be simply who we are. Your sharing your health challenges is an amazing inspiration to us all! Thank you for your strength and your vulnerability in the service of inspiring others!

  3. Barbara, thank you for sharing this. What an incredibly tough situation…you might now feel this way, but you are a very strong woman and mother. Mothering is hard on the best days. Keep on writing and sharing your story to help all of us mamas and humans be less judgemental and more kind.

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