Having eczema is generally a crappy experience anyway, but when you have kids, that experience can get even worse.
You grew up conscious of your skin and the sore patches… you knew people could see it and were well aware that most people, were wondering if you were contagious.
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Naturally, as a child this was damaging to your confidence. In my own experience, I was made to feel like I had some sort of plague when I was growing up. Kids would scream and dust themselves off if I accidentally touched them.
I would wake up in the mornings with blood all over my sheets and dead skin all over the place. My mum would have to dust off my bed every morning and slather me with copious amounts of cream every night… of course nothing seemed to work in the long term.
Then come the teen years, your skin is bad enough but then when you start to take oral steroids to control it, the weight piles on and you feel even worse.
I would get home from school and run to my room and just sob… why was I so ugly? Why was I the one who had to look this way and have skin like this?… I would wish for death. I remember the feelings of absolute desperation like it was yesterday. My heart would physically ache in my chest.
Somehow, I came to terms with my condition. I accepted that this was just how I am and decided to be proud of my differences.
Not to mention, I started to understand that there were people out there who were suffering a lot worse than me and I realised in a lot of ways, I was lucky.
Despite this acceptance, the physical pain of eczema doesn’t go away.
You learn to control it the best way you can, even if that means having to sit on your hands or have someone to restrain your hands so you can stop yourself from tearing your own skin apart.
Having kids, brings about new feelings that you have to learn to cope with and deal with. But it’s hard to accept that you can’t give your kids everything you want because of your skin… feelings of feeling sorry for yourself begin to resurface… you feel cheated… why you?
I want to tell you that I understand… I want you to know that I know what it’s like to struggle with skin so sore
that you can’t bend your fingers. Hands so painful that a simple task like changing a nappy, is a horrible, challenging and painful experience.
Undoing the straps of the nappy and clicking together the fiddly poppers of a onesie with fingers that just cant bend, or that split and bleed instantly when you do accidentally bend them, is, lets face it, soul destroying. That might sound over the top, but until you have a baby that you cant even pick up properly to comfort because of how sore your skin is, you wouldn’t understand how distressing that limitation is.
You wouldn’t understand how cheated and incompetent you feel when you long to bath your baby every night like other mothers are doing without a second thought, but you cant… and when you do face the fact that you have to bath your baby, it’s not the exciting prospect that you feel it should be… instead you feel dread because you know your hands are going to be agony afterwards and nappy changes, screwing up milk bottles and even getting dressed are going to become even harder. Yes, you could put on gloves while you bath your baby but that doesn’t feel good. You want to reach out and touch your baby’s soft skin, you want to enjoy bath time like everyone else and it feels shitty to think you have to handle your most precious love wearing a huge pair of yellow rubber marigolds.
This letter isn’t to tell you how you could possibly fix your skin or what cream you should try next… I know how annoying that is when sometimes, it just helps to know that someone else understands your pain, someone else is going through the same thing. Sometimes, you don’t want advice or recommendations, just to be heard is enough.
Lots of Love,