A few weeks ago I was contacted by Heather Von St James to do a special post in support of National Family Caregiver month. This month marks 10 years since Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma (a rare and aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos). Heather has had such incredible support from her husband and family through her treatments and everyday care. If you are interested in reading more about Heather's story, visit her blog.
When Heather reached out to me I knew I had to participate. When it comes to illness and hospital visits I have been extremely lucky. I have never been seriously sick, or had to stay overnight in a hospital. I've never had a long term illness that would affect me physically. But when I hear the word caregiver, the person that immediately comes to mind is my mother. So even though I haven't needed specific care for a long period of time, my mom has always been there to provide whatever type of care I've needed.
My mom has been a stay at mom my entire life. When I was younger I remember coming home from school seeing my mom in the kitchen, preparing an after school snack for me. We'd spend the next few moments talking about school and the highs and lows I experienced throughout the day. This small little act made such a big impact in my life. I knew I could always count on my mom being home when I got home and from this I knew she would always be there for me. Even though her days would be busy, I could always count on her being right by the front door when I came home.
When I was in high school, I was hit hard with social anxiety (you can read more about my experience here). Through the years as I have struggled with this, my mom has always tried her best to help me. Although I didn't always accept this help, and shut her down, she was determined to get me through it. Realizing that she experienced similar things I did, I learned to trust in her.
My recovery after having Calvin has pretty rough. I didn't suffer from postpartum depression (which surprised me), but I did sprain my tail bone during labour, and had quite a lot of trouble with breastfeeding. For the first 2 weeks of Calvin's life, my mom slept on our couch, took the baby if I needed sleep, made us food, always made sure our fridge was full, cleaned our apartment, would wake up whenever I needed help feeding Calvin, would let me cry things out, and so much more. Since Alex and I don't know where we will end up when he finishes school this year, the thought of being away from my mom when we have our next child terrifies me. Luckily my mom told me: "Wherever you end up, I will always come down for as long as need, to help you with the transition."
Now that I am grown and my have my own family, I can always rely on my mom's wisdom, support and listening ear. Even though I'm now a mom, deep down I realize this one simple truth: I still need my mom.