Motherhood and Fibromyalgia: How to Build a Support Group to Help

Image: Tatyana Dzemileva/Shutterstock

Image: Tatyana Dzemileva/Shutterstock

Raising children is already a challenging role and it can be tough to keep up with kids’ energy levels. But when you add a chronic health condition that causes pain all over and that frankly makes you want to take naps, parenting is even harder. While it may not be easy to find ways to get you more naps, you can find a network of support that will make your life a little easier and more comfortable. After all, nobody else understands what it’s like to balance motherhood and fibromyalgia than someone else who’s doing the same thing. Here’s how to get started.

Look Online

Computer support groups are a natural fit for people with fibromyalgia. You can post messages about your day and respond to others when it fits within your schedule, which is really helpful when you have an illness with unpredictable symptoms like fibromyalgia. It can be difficult to know which times and days will relate to when you are feeling well enough for social contact. You may be able to find a group already in existence or create one, possibly through social networks like Facebook.

How to Create an In-Person Support Group

Although online support groups are convenient and make it easier to connect even on days when you’re in too much pain to leave the house, there are also disadvantages. Groups that are strictly online often lack an in-person component, and there’s no substitute for face-to-face connection. Finding an in-person support group not only provides that essential connection, it also makes it more likely that your kids can play together, giving you a bit of a break. Plus, there’s nothing like crying on the shoulder of someone who understands, or just getting a much-needed hug!

If there isn’t already a support group in your community, you can create one. Decide if you want to facilitate the group or if you want to enlist a friend to help. You may need to find a space for meetings; libraries, restaurants and churches may all have available space for free or for low cost. Get the word out there on Facebook, in libraries, and even on bulletin boards in your community. Make sure that doctors who specialize in fibromyalgia issues know about your group as well so they can refer their patients.

Support Doesn’t Have to Be Fibro-Specific

Your support doesn’t have to come only from other people who also have fibromyalgia. In fact, there are many ways that it’s better if they don’t. Think about the people in your life who care about you and who understand the struggles you go through on a daily basis: you may have friends, family members or even neighbors who get it. A lot of people want to help, too. If someone has ever offered to help, they most likely meant it. Let the people who love you ease your burden—even if it’s just coming over and playing with the kids for a couple hours so you can nap, or helping you with a load of laundry. Don’t struggle alone in silence when a caring friend or relative may be just a phone call away.