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Parenting with PsA: Overcoming the Guilt of Feeling Like a ‘Bad’ Mom

Living Well

January 23, 2024

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Photography by Irina Ozhigova/Stocksy United

Photography by Irina Ozhigova/Stocksy United

by Jenny Durand

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Medically Reviewed by:

Nancy Carteron, M.D., FACR

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by Jenny Durand

•••••

Medically Reviewed by:

Nancy Carteron, M.D., FACR

•••••

•••••

I worried that PsA would keep me from being a “good” mom.

In January of this year, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It’s hard to believe she is already 11 months old and that I’ve already been a mom for that long!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I really worried about how my PsA would impact both my pregnancy and my ability to be a mom. I worried that pain, stiffness, fatigue, or some combination of all three would keep me from being a “good” mom.

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Memorable moments of motherhood

One of the most rewarding things for me as a mom is watching my baby grow. I’ve watched her learn her name and how to wave, clap, and giggle. I’ve watched her learn how to interact with the world around her. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

Unfortunately, as my baby grows and we experience all these magical things, it also gets harder for me to show up physically in some of the ways I want to.

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When PsA leads to guilt

As my daughter grows, it gets harder for me to hold her. When she was tiny, I had no problem rocking her in my arms for hours, but now that she’s bigger, I find myself having to put her down sooner than I would like to because of pain in my back, hips, and wrists.

Some nights, I can’t do bathtime, even though I want to, because bathtime requires kneeling on the bathroom floor and bending over the tub. These are two things that can be hard, if not impossible, on some days if you live with arthritis.

Some days, even the idea of taking my baby out to run errands is daunting. I know that transferring her into the car seat, then out of the car, into a cart, and around the store will require more energy from me than I have for the day.

A lot of times, I have to ask my husband for help. In those moments, I feel guilty that I can’t do more on my own. These are the moments when I worry I’m a “bad” mom.

Showing up in meaningful ways

The good news is our babies don’t care if we can’t carry them as much as we’d like to or if we have to sit on the sideline during bathtime some nights while the other parent does the kneeling.

Our kiddos aren’t looking for us to be perfect. They’re just looking for us to be ourselves. They care that we hug them, laugh with them, show up for them, and spend time with them. They care about feeling loved and cherished. I can make sure my baby feels loved and important even when I can’t kneel on the ground for bathtime or hold her as much as I’d like.

Having PsA and the limitations that come along with it sometimes means I have to show up differently — but showing up differently doesn’t make me a “bad” mom. It doesn’t make you a “bad” parent, either.

Parenting with PsA is hard some days, but it’s so worth it. In case you needed to hear this today, I’m so proud of you for how you show up for yourself and your kiddo(s). They are so very lucky to have you.

Medically reviewed on January 23, 2024


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Connect with thousands of members and find support through daily live chats, curated resources, and one-to-one messaging.

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About the author

Jenny Durand

Jenny is a mom, wife, registered nurse (with a background in both oncology and dermatology), writer, and freelance psoriatic arthritis advocate. She has been living with psoriasis since 2012 and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) since 2019. She has a strong passion for helping others by sharing the honest, vulnerable, and not always pretty parts of her own journey with PsA. Her main goal with advocacy work is to help others feel less alone in whatever difficult situations/diagnoses they may be facing. Her PsA diagnosis along with her background in nursing gives her a unique and invaluable perspective of both sides of healthcare. You can find her on Instagram where she keeps you up to date on her life and posts funny and relatable psoriatic arthritis/chronic illness reels and stories.

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