6 In Lifestyle

Judging a Mother By Its Cover

motherhood and chronic illness

I am the picture perfect of health. And for some reason…since I look healthy, it is really hard for some people to understand that I struggle with a chronic illness. Unfortunately, looking healthy and normal, has its MAJOR disadvantages. It confuses the crap out of people.

I think people have a hard time understanding how someone who looks normal, is even sick, because people are so quick to judge. They judge you on your good days, and it is human nature to judge.

But, judgement is my biggest pet peeve. Because when it comes to having a chronic illness, many times, “chronic”, is also “invisible”. And even more so, “chronic” means “long term”. In other words, more often than not, you cannot see a chronic illness, chronic conditions do not go away, and most are not curable.

We are taught at a young age not to judge a book by its cover, yet, looking healthy makes it incomprehensible for people to understand that you are sick. In fact, it makes some people go as far as questioning the very illness that is debilitating your life.

Why is that? Why is it so inconceivable for someone to understand why your body cannot be failing you on the inside, while looking great on the outside?

Judgement is by far the hardest social dilemma for me. In the past, friends, and even family, have questioned the very issue of whether I am sick or not. And for someone dealing with a chronic condition and often times debilitating fatigue, this is the biggest slap in the face!

I think one of the WORST things that you can do to a person with a chronic illness, is to make them feel like they need to prove they are sick. To make them prove why they can do some activities and not others.

I had the pleasure and gluttony of watching the Real Housewives of Orange County this past season, and the famous Yolanda Foster went through a phase in her life where she not only had to battle her chronic illness at its worst point, but she also had to deal with the social stigma of friends not believing she was, in deed struggling with debilitating symptoms.

Do you ever feel like you need to prove your condition? To friends or family? What are some ways that you have had to prove to your friends and family that you are not feeling well?

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  • Sarah Buntain

    What about being a single mom, professional job constantly afraid it’s going to all slip away with some vague “we are downsizing” or “this job function is no longer needed” or some other BS. Worrying about homelessness really make the fatigue nice and fun

    • http://www.mommyisntfeelingwell.com MommyIsntFeelingWell

      Agreed. This is a huge issue, one that is NOT okay, and I am sorry that you struggle with this. For anyone to feel like their job security is threatened by a chronic illness, is extremely worrisome, especially for a single mother struggling with so much more than just the day-to-day physical nuances of a chronic illness. Have you met with HR? Or have you had a chance to read your company’s or State guidelines? Have you read Sheryl Sandberg’s article admitting that single motherhood is hard after her husband passed? I felt like writing to her directly, and asking her to take into consideration –> single mothers, who are also struggling with a chronic illness, and to ask her to take THAT issue to a national audience…

      • Sarah Buntain

        i will PM you…

  • Sarah Buntain

    Thankful I discovered your blog. I needed to know I’m not the only one

    • http://www.mommyisntfeelingwell.com MommyIsntFeelingWell

      I am so incredibly honored, blessed, and thankful that you are connecting with my blog. I cannot tell you how many times I thought about being alone, when I first entered motherhood and saw all these moms running around with their kids to the parks, museums, activities, school volunteering, work, etc, and I was barely able to brush my teeth and change my baby’s diapers! Feeling supported and realizing that we are both not alone on this journey of motherhood with a chronic illness, is honestly, sooo cathartic and therapeutic for me, and I hope for you, and others!!

  • Mel

    I’m glad I found this site. It’s like someone was in my head and took the words out. It’s been a battle for me for 20years. I’m judged constantly and by people very close to me. I wish there was a support group near me and maybe things wouldn’t be so bad. I don’t have friends or family but that wouldn’t be necessary if at least my husband understood or cared.