I realised putting ME first was a priority. I am far from being a ‘perfect mum’, partner, friend, sister and daughter but I always think I’m doing my best to fulfil these roles.
The two main things that I felt was a problem was I wanted to try and please everyone and comparing myself to other women. I got it wrong when I started to believe the definition of perfect was that kind of woman…
I wanted to be the kind of woman who loves to cater to her man by waking up early to get his food and clothes ready for his day. The type of women who makes sure that the house is always tidy without a speck of dust. The sort of mum that is never late dropping her child off to school without breaking a sweat and even remembers to wear a bra! The kind of woman looking ever-so-glamorous 365 days a year, 24/7. The type of woman who visits and keeps in touch with friends.
However, trying to be a superwoman made me forget myself. I forgot my wellbeing to the point where my mind and body almost gave up on me…
I ended up in the hospital due to a nasty flare up. I have Crohn’s disease, which slips my mind when I try to be that kind of woman.
This weeklong spell in the hospital seemed like a lifesaver. It was a place where this time, was about looking after me. A place where I could stop and do nothing and not be judged. For the first time in a long time, I slept every day without worrying.
This time to myself made me realise that trying so hard to be that that kind of woman took the joy out of motherhood. It took the love and fun out of my relationships. I realised if I didn’t put myself first, how would my girls benefit? How would I dedicate that time to them if I didn’t look after myself?
I’ve had Crohn’s disease for nine years, and it affects my small intestine which is inflamed. It leaves me drained, fatigued and weak most of the time. It often leaves me unable to do anything. Some people may disagree and say that it’s selfish that I’m unable to put others first. Maybe, it is, but that is what I need to do for me to be useful to my loved ones.
I thank God that he has blessed me with a fantastic family support unit. Without my mum, brother and my amazing in-laws I wouldn’t know how I cope.
Getting help and support
The unpredictable flare-ups of Crohn’s disease can be hard to cope with emotionally and practically.
It may help to:
Tell your friends and family about your condition – so they can understand the effect it has on your life
talk to your GP or care team – they can offer support, treatment and referral to a specialist such as a counsellor if needed
use support groups like Crohn’s and Colitis UK – NHS
*All thoughts and opinions remain the authors own and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments of Sareta Fontaine.