Parenting With RA

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I discovered I had RA about 13, 14 years ago. It was right before I turned 30. And I remember coming home and thinking, you know what, I have rheumatoid arthritis. And the reason why I had that thought was because my little sister had previously been diagnosed when she was around 16, 17. So I don't know, something in my gut just told me that's what it was. And that's when I called my mom to tell her I thought I had RA.

When you get diagnosed, it is so upsetting, right? Because you're thinking of all of these things that you're not going to be able to do. I'm never going to run with my trainer again. Maybe I won't be able to dance at the nightclub. How am I going to hold a baby? Who's going to want to be with me if I have this disease?

And the parenting thing was really scary for me. Because when I got pregnant, I kept thinking I don't know how I'm going to do this. I don't know how I'm going to be physical with my kid and change my kid's diaper. And I have a lot of crazy stories about when she was young, and I was probably in the worst flare of my life.

But I've always been open and honest with my daughter about the fact that I have an autoimmune disease. And when she was really little, it would come in the form of, baby, mommy can't pick you up right now because she has rheumatoid arthritis and her hands really hurt. Do you think you can ask daddy?

And luckily, my husband has been amazingly supportive. And he picks up the slack for me because I can't get on my knees and play horsey. And I don't get on the floor to play LEGOs because, Lord knows, if I get on the floor, I might not be able to get back up. So she knows that daddy is for roughhousing and play. Mommy is a cuddler. She reads books. You can sit on mommy's lap when she's on the couch.

And it's kind of funny because over the last eight years talking to her about it, she has become my mini-RA warrior. It makes me happy that-- I think it's kind of funny. I find her advocating for me. But she's also been with me to appointments. And I hear her advocating for herself. So there are lessons, and there is beauty in it. She's maybe learning things that other kids might not learn, how to accept people for who they are and what they have and whatever their limitations are and love them in their entirety.