Chronic Pain and Fatigue – Managing your own Expectations

image from Google Image Search “Dreams”

This post has been inspired by conversations with people I know and The Better Way CFS‘s post on “How CFS has Changed Me”. The conversations have been around other people expressing their concerns that my goals and expectations for the future are now unrealistic. The blog post talks about how being ill has caused a change in her goals are for the future.

I have resigned myself to the possibility I may not ever get well enough to work full time again, and I may have to change my career choices, but I am really struggling with letting go of, or changing, other goals and dreams because I see them as a defining part of who I am.

For example, my whole life I have wanted to be a mother. This, in my mind, is one of the most important things that could ever happen to me. I have always, even as a small child, pictured myself as a mother. I’m now being told, by multiple people in my life, that this life long dream is unrealistic. I understand that the people who are saying this are only saying it because they are concerned about me and my health, but it is still¬†very hard to hear it. Their concerns are around my ability to look after a child while I’m fatigued and in pain and around the pain and fatigue that being pregnant can cause (especially given the Pelvic Congestion Syndrome). I am being told to consider the risks of going through a pregnancy and these people believe the risk is too high.

These are all valid concerns and I do understand where they’re coming from BUT I don’t think I’m going to give up on this dream. I believe that the risks are high but manageable and, in my mind, they are worth it. My mum is with me on this. She has pointed out that I have a large support base available to me in the form of family members and friends in the area that we live. She understands how important this is for me, and like me she believes that there is never a “right” time for having a child.

Before I got this ill, E and I had been discussing the possibility of “considering” children towards the end of next year. He now believes that until I am “well” (which lets be realistic, may never happen) I should not be considering children. Another point he made was that even if I get better he would be concerned about the pregnancy causing a relapse of symptoms. He has straight out told me that end of next year is completely unrealistic for considering children now that I am ill, and that I should be preparing myself for the unlikely possibility that I may never be able to have children.

These comments really hurt me. I know he’s only said them because he loves me and he is concerned about my health and well being and so I’m trying to take them on board and consider the possibilities but it’s difficult.

How have you dealt with letting go of (or redefining) something you believed was an integral part of how you perceived yourself?

Have you ever struggled with managing your expectations and dreams when they’ve clashed with reality or the expectations and dreams of those you love?