Voices: How Has a Loved One Supported You?
“I lean on the RA community”
My husband has been my staunchest supporter – caring for me through nearly 20 surgeries since my diagnosis and supporting my decision to leave full-time employment due to my health, which was a huge decision. But the virtual and real friends I have made in the RA community see me through the day-to-day challenges of dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. Being able to connect and share with others who “get” what you’re going through is invaluable when you’re struggling. Whether you’re contemplating a new treatment, suffering through a flare or just need to vent, the RA community offers so much support. While my husband is there to carry me through, the RA community has become my rock-steady foundation that I lean on daily. RA has been put in my path, but I don’t feel like I’m on that path alone.
“She helps me keep facing forward”
Motherhood is a demanding job, but being a mom with RA comes with unique challenges. RA can be complicated to manage during pregnancy. Joint pain can make infant care particularly onerous. Fatigue can make it feel impossible to keep up with energetic children. My own mother has been instrumental in helping me figure out how to keep facing forward. She supports me in countless practical ways, from helping me stay on top of mountains of laundry and dishes to filling my freezer with easy meals for days when I don’t feel up to cooking. She’s always happy to take charge of a kid (or two or three!) when I really need a break. She also gives me a great deal of emotional support, reminding me that I’m an awesome mom even when I don’t feel that way. With her support I was just able to welcome my third baby to the family, and I’ll never let RA stop me from being the mom I want to be.
“Moral support can keep you going”
My partner supports me not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. He has come home from work in the middle of the day just to feed me and stayed up all night to comfort me during bad flares. He also listens without judgment when I express fears about the future. Other men I’ve dated have felt frustrated when they can’t “solve” my problems, but for someone who is suffering, moral support can be one of the most important things that keeps you going. My partner is my guardian angel, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have him in my life.