(F M .A. N I) is a registered charity organisation dedicated to providing help and support to Fibromyalgia sufferers and those who care for them.
Our mission is to provide an organisation where those with Fibromyalgia can find understanding, knowledge, support and practical help in coping with this disease.
FM.A.NI receives NO council or government funding for our charity & depend on donations to raise the funds it needs to continue, we hope you will find this site useful and informative.
FM.A.NI was set up to raise awareness of Fibromyalgia especially in Northern Ireland.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain illness that can affect a person from head to toe.
There is no cure, and it includes a wide range of symptoms that affects everyone differently.
Chronic means this illness is for life. Yes there are good days, but for a person living with Fibromyalgia even a good day equals pain. They require living hour by hour, and not knowing what the day ahead will bring, or when the next flare up could happen.
We really want people to help us spread awareness of this debilitating illness, so that the people who are affected with Fibro can live in a more supportive world.
It is hard enough living with chronic pain and all the other nasty symptoms
without being judged because there illness is invisible.
We want to give those affected by (FMS) Fibromyalgia Syndrome a voice.
We want to make Fibromyalgia VISIBLE!
We all want to be the best parents we can be. The demands of parenting, though, present a major challenge for those of us with fibromyalgia
Chronic fatigue syndrome or other chronic illnesses.
Some people wonder if they can be a good parent when they can't even get out of bed some days.
We may be unable to commit to the kinds of busy schedules some kids have.
We may fear disappointing our kids by having to cancel plans for fun things they want to do.
But does that mean we can't be good parents? Absolutely not!
We may not be typical parents, but we can still raise happy, successful kids.
What is a "Good Parent"?
When fibromyalgia reared its head and threw my life off course
, my kids sprung to mind. I lost the energy I'd previously had to get down on the floor and play, run around the yard, etc. Cuddling became painful. I'll never forget my six year old daughter standing next to the couch where I was laying, asking, "Daddy, can I have a hug? I'll be gentle." It broke my heart.
When my eldest daughter started secondary school, she wanted me to volunteer for her school. I made couldn't make it that year. , but I knew there was no way I could commit to that schedule. Because I had to leave my full-time job and the income it provided, we were further limited in what the kids could do.
I'm grateful that, fairly early in my fibromyalgia battle, that I was able to research into this chronic, debilitating illness, I came accross an internet radio show, where a woman was speaking about life with fibromyalgia.
She's a mother with fibromyalgia as well as Oprah Winfrey's life coach. She'd been able to make a significant recovery but had been all-but bedridden when her kids were little. She talked a lot about raising her kids from a king-sized bed and occasionally crawling around on the floor to tidy up. And guess what – her kids did just fine.
That got me thinking a lot about how our society's perception of "good parenting" is far too narrow. What's really important? First, we need to keep them safe and healthy. Second, we need to make sure they're loved. Beyond that, I believe whatever we can do for them is extra.
Age Can Make a Difference
In conversations with readers here, I've learned that the age your kids are when you're sidelined by illness can make a big difference in how they handle it. If you're sick when they're little, it may be harder on you physically, but easier on the kids because it's all they know. If they're older, and especially teenagers, the transition may be harder on them because they feel the loss of how things used to be. Not known for their selflessness, teens may blame and resent a sick parent.
If your children are having a hard time adapting, you may want to consider individual or family counseling to give them a safe place to vent their frustrations and learn some coping skills.
I've been fortunate to have a supportive friends, that has allowed my kids to do a lot of things that I'm not able to do with them. Also, my kids are healthy.
If you're a single parent and/or a chronically ill parent with a special-needs child, I know the challenges are significantly greater. Be sure to see what resources are available to help in your community and school district.
The Bottom Line
Believe it or not, I believe my illness has benefited my children in some ways. They've learned to be helpful, understanding of differences and shortcomings, and self-reliant. People have marveled at how much they're able to do for themselves. My children don't shy away from people with obvious disabilities because, to them, it's just a normal part of life.
Do I feel guilty sometimes? Of course. When I have to cancel something they've been looking forward to, when I lose time with them because of a messed up sleep schedule, when I can't be, do, or give them everything I want. It's hard. But I remind myself that they are safe, healthy, and know they're loved.
In the end, no parent is perfect. Sick or healthy, we all have limits and we all doubt ourselves from time to time.
Do what you can, and ask for help when you need it.