Day 13 🙂
I am taking a short break from sharing the stories, to share some tips for mums of endo warriors. More girls in their teens and early twenties are getting a diagnosis, more often than not, being diagnosed with endometriosis throws them and their families into confusion.
Endometriosis is one legacy no mother ever dreams of passing on to her daughter. The reality of this statement echoed through my mind in 2015 as I nursed my daughter. When I held her and stared into her little eyes, I felt a strong desire rise up within me, to do something to make sure her story was different. That the story of her generation would be different. A few months later, Yellow Endo Flower wsa born.
Along the way, I have met Endo warriors, a beautiful community of women fighting the same battle. We are one in ten women.
There are mothers reaching out, wanting to help their daughters navigate the murky waters. It is hard for them! Let no one tell you otherwise. Watching your little girl lay in foetal position because of pain is heartwrenching to watch, month after month.
For the mums, here are a few things that you can do to help make the journey a little easier for your daughter:
1. Believe Her
When she tells you that she is experiencing pain with her period, believe her. Do not try to minimize or trivialize the pain. Pain is the body’s way of asking for help, if we do not listen to its whispers, we will have to stop our day-to-day activities when it screams.
2. Be Present
Buckle up, dear mama, and make the decision to be present for the long haul. The journey may not be smooth, but your presence makes a world of a difference.
It may seem easier to just give her money to see the doctor, but, depending on the relationship that you have with her, she may need you to hold her hand and encourage her heart. Waiting rooms and emergency rooms can be very lonely places.
3. Find a doctor who understands Endometriosis
You may be tempted to take her to your Ob/Gyn, while s/he may be a good place to start, it is good to see a doctor who is trained in laparoscopic surgery and who deals with a lot of Endometriosis cases. Find a doctor who has a good bedside manner.
You can find referrals in your local Endometriosis community. If you do not know where to begin, you can send me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be in touch.
4. Get informed
Information is power, it is difficult to manage what you don’t fully understand. Read more about endometriosis and how it affects her body. The top searches from google are very informative. There are books for sale online that are good resources.I have been sharing Endo stories in the series #31DaysofEndo.
From the information readily available, evaluate the changes that she can make, and those you can make as a household.
5. Evaluate the triggers
Endometriosis symptoms may be aggravated by things that an endo warrior is exposed to. The only way to establish what the triggers is by eliminating the potential trigger foods and products and keeping a record of the progress.
6. Keep a period diary
Encourage her to actively keep a period diary, to record the pain and other symptoms when they strike so that she can understand the patterns in her cycle. If you are looking for a simple diary to start with, I have written a period diary book titled Bloom, it is available in Kenya for 500/=. It is ideal for girls and women.
Understanding her cycle will enable her to forecast her energy and work around the flare-ups as she works on managing the symptoms.
7. Ask questions
Note down your concerns on a paper and go with it when you visit your doctor. Ask the doctor to break down the treatment plans and to let you know what you should look out for.
Trust your inner voice and don’t settle for an explanation that doesn’t sit well with you.
8. Educate those around her
People tend to be less sensitive to what they do not understand. Share with the people around her: her friends, school, and people who live with her, what Endometriosis is, and how it may affect her, that way they may be more understanding and willing to help.
9. Keep a medicine log
Pain and symptom management are an integral part of the Endo journey. Before she starts any medication, make sure you read the pamphlet and make a mental note of the side effects to look out for. Note down any reactions and allergies to drugs so as to mention them to a medical practitioner in future. Keeping a log will also help you to see how much medication she needs to manage the symptoms.
10. Offer psychosocial support
The emotional strain caused by endometriosis should not be overlooked. Many endo warriors tend to suffer in silence because they do not know where to seek help. Find your daughter, someone, she can talk to. Find a support group or forum that she can plug in to, and meet other girls and women who are walking the same path.
11. Keep hope alive
The consistent flare-ups, hospital visits, medication can grey a girl’s dreams. The constant feeling of fatigue and malaise can take the toll on you. Encourage her to write down a list of her ambitions and dreams. When she is well enough to do them, encourage her to pursue them. Celebrate the small steps as you wait to make the big steps.
Do fun things with her, talk to her, love on her and be there for her.
All the best, mama! Your labour is not in vain.
If you’d like to talk more about Endometriosis, feel free to drop me a line via email@example.com