Mental Health,  parenting

Writing While Raising Medically Complex Kids

I have been taking a lot of writing breaks in the last eight months. It wasn’t entirely an accident. I’ve been writing to process my life since I was a little kid. Stories and essays helped me in ways talking never did. I’ve always identified as a writer. Getting my first piece published in 2017 only confirmed what I felt was true to my soul. Writing helps. Until it doesn’t.

We have been dealing with an enormous amount of uncertainty in recent months at my house. Will Twin A have surgery? Won’t she? Will Twin B’s med change work? Will we need to change again? Was that a seizure? Is there a bleed? Why can’t we find this stupid med anywhere? You know, medical mom stuff. Add in work and typical life and you can see how it might be a little much.

Normally I would write. Even if I never shared it with a living soul, I would write it out. Writing has always been my therapy. OK, not quite therapy but it certainly helps! This last round has been different. I haven’t wanted to write. Not for a moment. Writing feels….hard. Unhelpful, unnecessary, and hard. My piece for Rare Revolution this past winter came out like molasses from a straw. It took for-ever, friends. It was rough. I’ve barely written a thing since.

I’m just fried, y’all

I’m spent. I spend so much time managing crisis after crisis and planning our next steps that I just don’t have it in me to write. I don’t want to think about the reality of this life for a second longer than I have to. Mostly, I want to ignore this life, what we have been given, and the medical complexities that my children must manage. The first part of this year has been full of appointments, setbacks, and med changes for both of my girls.

We’ve had a couple of instances of the worst-case scenario being even worse than we had feared. We’ve had a few instances of us all wondering how we got here and how to go on. I, personally, have comforted each of my daughters while falling apart on the inside at the enormity of it all. And I know I’m not the only one.

It’s ok to take a writing break

Yes, my dear friends, it has been a difficult year so far, to say the least. And writing about it, even more difficult. A fellow medical mom reminded me in a group at ANGEL AID recently that it’s OK to take a break. it’s even normal to need to walk away from it all for a bit. To do ONLY what we have to do and then ignore the rest. I don’t have to force it.

And maybe most importantly, she told me she took a long break and actually came back to it on her own terms, in her own time. I think that’s part of my worry. If I stop writing, if I don’t put this latest round of crisis into words on a page, am I still a writer? It seems that I can take a hiatus. I can be a writer and be on a bit of a break. That’s the benefit of being a writer. I don’t really answer to anyone. I’m not under a publishing contract. I can call my own shots.

For so long I have identified as a writer. Whether I’m a twin mom, a medical mom, a wife, an advocate, whatever. Always a writer. I think knowing I can be a writer on a break makes it easier to say I don’t have to write about everything. I can find other means of processing this difficult life path and come back to writing. Who knows, maybe later on I’ll have something of value to say.

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