Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

Thoughts on motherhood & ostomies

Being a mother, in many ways, is just how I imagined it would be. It’s fun, challenging, exhausting, full of love and snuggles. But I don’t think I ever could have imagined how strongly each of those feelings and emotions would impact me. It’s more fun, more challenging, more exhausting than I ever could have anticipated.

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My son is coming up on turning 11 months old this week. As I have gotten to know him over those months, I have learned a lot, both about myself and about parenthood in general. I have found that I can’t take my eyes off of him for more than a few seconds or he will make a break for the stairs. I have learned that no matter how good of a job I think I do at keeping stuff out of his reach, he will always find the one thing he shouldn’t be playing with. I have learned that my son’s laugh is the most incredible sound in the world. I have realized where I’m willing to take risks and where I am not. When previously I would have stepped on the gas to catch a yellow light, I now slow down and wait. Making that light may be worth the risk to my life, but it’s not worth the risk to his. It’s interesting to realize how differently you value and treat your own life as compared to your child’s.

Having a child certainly makes you look at the world differently. It’s as if everything you see is now filtered through a different lens. You think about what’s best for them, and how you can help them learn and grow. It also makes you think more often about the truly important things in life.

This past week, my son and I both came down with a cold. Nothing major, but just enough to where you feel pretty awful and you just want to sleep for a while. Well, as you parents know, kids don’t believe in taking a day to rest. I started feeling poorly after he was doing a lot better, so all he wanted to do was play and explore, while all I wanted to do was to take a nap. As he was staring at me, and starting to cry because I didn’t want to play, I thought about what it would be like if I was feeling run like this down all of the time. Those few days were difficult, but they were nothing compared to what so many individuals with IBD live through each and every day. It’s what I lived through every day for a very long time. It broke my heart to think of what it would be like if I had never had my surgery.

My son makes me thankful for my ostomy every day. It has allowed me to chase him around on the floor without feeling too exhausted. I can now break away for a quick moment to empty my bag, rather than spending a long time in the bathroom. I have the strength to pick him up and carry him around with me during the day.

On my first Mother’s day after his birth, I stop to think about what it means to be a mother. It’s about teaching your child how to navigate this world and to be a good and kind person. You show them how to love and be respectful of others. You give them the tools to make something of themselves and to chase after their dreams. But more than almost anything, it’s about being there for your child. And I am so thankful that my ostomy has allowed me to be there for mine.

From the mother of a Crohn’s disease patient

In honor of Mother’s Day, here is a post from a very special mother. She has been by my side, all of these years, fighting for me as I tried to navigate this life living with Crohn’s disease. Mom, you are such an amazing, beautiful, godly, strong woman and I am so proud to call you my mother. I know I would not be the woman I am without your love and support. Happy Mother’s Day!

One of the greatest fears of a parent is to have something bad happen to their child. I remember watching some telltale signs of weakness in
Stephanie, knowing she was running to the bathroom, and feeling generally lousy. Was it a stomach virus, salmonella, even a parasite? One by one, these were ruled out by medical tests, while Stephanie was getting more tired, paler, and thinner.

Our family doctor wanted her to see a GI, and he ran more tests, while telling me ‘not to jump to conclusions’ when I asked if it could possibly be Crohn’s.
He wanted to try some oral meds, and wait for them to work, while Stephanie continued to get weaker, paler, thinner.

stephanie hughes crohn's disease sick hospital lost weight child kid duke stolen colon ostomy colitis blog family parents sistersUltimately, we wound up with the pediatric GI team at Duke Hospital, and a correct diagnosis was made and treatment begun. My 75 lb. Stephanie, now only 50 lb., would spend the next 25 days in the hospital, and the following year recovering. Mother’s Day 2000, I was happy to have my baby on the mend – even though she was full-faced from all the steroids, hair in complete disarray as so much had fallen out, and now new hair was coming in underneath, but she was alive!

Several Mother’s Days since have been spent at her bedside, or walking the floor praying for strength for her. Mother’s Day 2008, we proudly watched her graduate from UNC Chapel Hill, thankful she made it through, sometimes on sheer will and determination. Mother’s Day 2012 was celebrated at her home, as we tended to Stephanie, just home from the hospital after her Ileostomy. Mother’s Day 2014 – my baby is feeling great, in Italy on a second honeymoon with our wonderful Jarrod.

I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow. Happy Mother’s Day to all women who are, will be or have a mother.

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