sam cleasby mum parent blogger

Happy Mother’s Day to all the sick mums

When you have a child, you make this silent vow, a promise to yourself that you will protect, love and adore this baby and always be there for them.  And so when something makes that difficult, when an unplanned illness or injury makes you falter at the most important job you have ever had, it is tough.

My kids have grown up with me having Ulcerative Colitis, Charlie was 3 and Ellie was 11 months when I was diagnosed.  Thom was born a year later, my body having fought against his during the pregnancy where I had awful flare ups that made me anaemic, made me pass out, made me lose weight and eventually be hospitalised on bed rest and blood transfusions.


sam cleasby mum parent blogger

They have grown up with a mum who runs away from shopping trolleys in supermarkets to go to the loo, who always has wipes in her bag way past a time when they could be deemed necessary for children.  They have seen me so ill in bed that I didn’t have the energy to help them get ready for school, they have had to visit me in hospital more times than is ever right for a child, they have stroked my hair as I lay in bed with them and brought me heat pads and pain killers when I couldn’t manage myself.

They have learnt to make their own breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  They come running asking “mum, are you ok” when they hear my fast footsteps to the bathroom and the slam of the door.  They cried when they saw me in pain, wiped my tears away before their own and cuddled me, all piling into my bed to watch a film because they know that is the best I can give at that moment.

When they shied away from me after surgery, because they were afraid of hurting me and thought my stoma was weird, it was the toughest time.  And now knowing that my bambinos have had a harder childhood because of my illness, it breaks my heart.

child carers parents with disability or illness

Having a chronic illness or a disability that sometimes stops you doing all the things you want to do can feel like having one hand tied behind your back, it can feel like you are at a huge disadvantage and believe me, I know the feelings of anger, frustration, hurt and pain when as a mum, you can’t give your kids everything they need.

But I have to believe that my illness has also given my children positives, that the lessons they have had to learn will do them good in their lives.  I see it already in my loving, attentive and caring children.  I see it in the fact that despite the fact that I talk about poo for a living, they aren’t embarrassed!  They are so compassionate and empathetic and they have an insight into invisible disabilities as well as visible disabilities than many adults don’t.  They know that the richest you can be is when you are happy and surrounded by those you love, that your health is vital as this is the only body you get, they know that life sometimes gives you things you don’t want, need or ever even dreamed of but that you have to deal with it all through talking openly, sharing your feelings, occasionally weeping in a snotty mess, then pulling on your big girl (or boy!) pants and making the best out of the situation.

And so to the mums who today are celebrating mother’s day who have had to, on occasion, put their health before their child’s immediate needs, who have a heavy heart filled with guilt when they think about the things their children have seen and dealt with, to those who are cared for in part by their children, to those who have a disability or illness that affects the whole family…

kids visiting sick mums in hospital

To you mums, I salute you.   I raise a glass in solidarity to all who are just doing their best to get through each day.  I feel your pain but remind you gently, that it isn’t physical perfection that makes for a great momma, it is love, kindness and the ability to hug, kiss and raise amazing young people.

Our babies may not have the upbringing that we dreamt of, but they have us now.

Today hold them a little closer and pat yourself on the back for being enough.


Love Sam x


16 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day to all the sick mums

  1. Happy Mothers Day. We all have dreams of how we will parent our children and inevitably things crop up to change the way we actually do. As a child I had no one to love me so I speak wholeheartedly knowing that all a child really and truly needs is love. Your beautiful children are so very lucky to have you, as you are to have them.


  2. You , your kids and Timm are amazing despite or even because of all you have been through. Have a lovely day with them and your mum. Those of us who are lucky enough to still have our mums feel very blessed. Lots of love and hugs xxxx


  3. Stripybear nicely put 🙂
    Sam Thank You for this and your call to awareness. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 5yrs ago. For years including all the way through four pregnancies, I had severe pain, weight loss and in general feeling weak, tired and sick. In and out of hospital, given numerous types of drugs (all of which led to severe dental/heart issues) tests and faced so many doctors telling me there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s depression or stress. I finally found a Dr that listened and am working on getting where I need to be. Just finished a round of steroids and was hopeful that the flare was under control….apparently not 😦
    These flare up are getting more and more frequent to the point where I am genuinely concerned to leave the house without knowing every bathroom stop on the route or a change of clothes. It has affected my life in more ways I think than people realise and your letter going viral was one of the best things to happen for much needed awareness.
    Thank You and Happy Mothers Day.


  4. Beautifully written Sam …… My two children are definitely more compassionate and caring because of what they have seen me go through with UC …. They have amazed me with their resilience and understanding too having seen there mum hit rock bottom health wise and not been phased by seeing their mum recover after two lots of surgery with drains …drips and all the gruesome bits ! As I can see u are I am incredibly proud of my two kiddiwinks who have shown such strength of character and courage for their age … Thanks for posting this and reminding us mums that have been through the mill health wise that we need to pat ourselves on the back on such a special day x x


  5. You have such an amazing way with words Sam. I grew up with a mum with an illness and I had a so-called ‘harder’ childhood because of it. BUT I always tell people that, whilst it was so very hard at times, I wouldn’t change it for the world because I am who I am today because of it. And I think I am pretty kick ass, even if I do say so myself.

    As parents, we want to protect our children from the world but I would argue that does not necessarily make for well adjusted and happy children. Sometimes too much protection means our children have too sheltered an upbringing and then struggle when faced with hard times. Children have to face hard times, setbacks, and learn that everything does not happen perfectly because that is life. Children who face these things and learn to pick themselves and others up grow up to be more resilient, kind, empathetic, and generous, on the most part.

    So, from someone who has experienced such an upbringing, I just wanted to say… Please don’t feel too guilty. It’s so natural to feel guilt but actually you are giving your children some fantastic gifts, especially since you talk so openly with them, helping them deal with life and their feelings. I wouldn’t change my upbringing at all and I also hope that I can give the same gifts to my children (without as much hardship of course but you just can’t control how life will pan out). Keep doing what you’re doing.. You’re a great mum. Happy Mother’s Day. Love kiran xxx


  6. Happy Mother’s Day. Sometimes as moms we struggle with not being able to do the best we can, but we plod on…because a mom is 100% committed doing her best with all her available resources, in every way she can, at every moment she can. I loved your article amd admire your spirit


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