This week’s interview is with Pamela of Beauty and the Migraine Beast, and an especially personal one for me as I have had a lot of questions and concerns with starting a family with chronic migraine — and she is a momma with two young boys. We dig deeper into that topic but I also encourage you to check out her blog. She shares her journey of chronic migraine, PCOS, and the fertility issues that come with that. She is sharing with grace, strength and beautiful vulnerability. Without further ado, let’s get to know Pamela!
Hello Pamela, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your wellness journey?
My name is Pamela, I’m 30 years old, married to my amazing husband, Jeremy and we have two young boys, Nathan & Luke. I started having migraines when I was 18, in college. I thought (hoped, prayed) that I would outgrow them… but they have only gotten worse. In fact, after having my eldest son, Nathan, I received the diagnosis of chronic migraine 5 ½ years ago.
I love seeing other people share their stories (of any kind!) I was reading some different things and blogs last year, and I literally felt moved to start my own blog focused on my life and how I deal with chronic migraine in all aspects.
A lot of people feel very alone & isolated when they battle things others cannot see – and I have a lot of experience in that arena with chronic migraine, PCOS and having had miscarriages. I feel like God softly placed this idea of opening up, sharing my stories and doing my best to help/support others going through similar things into my heart. Over the past year, this has truly grown into such a passion for me, and I can’t wait to see where it take me.
What does healing look like to you?
This is a hard question for me, especially at this phase of our life. We are trying to grow our family. This severely limits what treatments I can try & what drugs I am allowed to take. Hopefully in the future, I will be able to do more to help me manage my chronic migraine disease. I pray that an actual cure will be found for all of us in the future, but I honestly try to see the blessings that come from my struggles and pain. I have found a strength in myself that I’m not sure I would have. I also have gained an enormous amount of compassion for others.
Walk me through what your day looks like (especially with two boys!)
A typical, not every eventful day in my life (haha), it doesn’t sound like much, but chasing Luke all day can wear you out! Nathan is usually up around 5:30 so Jeremy hangs out with him before he has to get ready for work, that also gives me a little extra sleep. Our morning routine consists of making the boys breakfast, I drink some tea, and get Nathan ready for school. Luke and I play and read books until his nap and while he’s napping I do different things depending on how I feel. Good days I get some chores done, bad days I let myself just rest. I also eat lunch. In the afternoon I try to get a couple things done around the house when Luke wakes up with his “help” and then we pick up Nathan at the bus stop, have a snack and sort through Nathan’s backpack. If I feel good I start dinner. On days I don’t feel well I make the boys easy/fast things like mac & cheese or scrambled eggs or Jeremy cooks. We eat dinner and then have a some playtime before we start getting ready for bed. Then relax and watch tv but sometimes Jeremy has homework to do. We try to go to be between 9/10 p.m. We need to try to be be more consistent.
I would love to know more about your journey as a mother with chronic migraine… so I have a couple questions. Have there been any challenges or fears you’ve had to work through? What kind of tools, support system, coping strategies – do you have? Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for migraineurs who want to become parents?
I always have the fear that my children will inherit migraine from me. There is literally nothing I can do about it. I have to give it up to God and just trust. I also know that if they do have it someday, I will be able to relate to them and know how to best care for them… It is a thought that still makes my stomach turn though.
My husband is my number one support system. He is so patient, understanding and compassionate- unlike anyone else I have ever know. I think God knew I needed him. We are a military family and don’t really much help. Most of our close friends that we were able to call on have moved away. Because of my increased health struggles, we have recently made a huge decision for our family. When Jeremy finishes his active duty military career on the late fall of this year, we will be moving back to Michigan to be closer to family. We haven’t made a big, formal announcement so I guess you get the breaking news! It will be so amazing to be close to family again and to have the support system we have been without for so many years.
Do not let migraine hold you back from your dream of having children. I am not saying that it is easy, but it is so worth it. I have had to suffer and push myself, but I wouldn’t change it. The first time I heard both boy’s heartbeats was in the ER (migraine + morning sickness = dehydration very quickly). I can’t take my meds when trying to get pregnant/am pregnant and that is really hard. But ultimately, I knew that pain I was going through, by being strong and not taking meds, was keeping my babies safe. And once they are in your arms… well there is nothing like it. I also work hard at finding joy in the little things we get to do together. Reading books, snuggles on the couch, baking, and just being together. I don’t have them in 47 different activities because I know I physically can’t commit to things like that. Plus they are little, and I would rather enjoy simple togetherness at home.
What does your self-care routine look like?
Hmmm… I do not have a super defined self-care routine. Each day looks a little different and Luke is very high energy/demanding at this age. I will give some examples of some things I do as often as I can for self- care Face mask (I love the new Olay ones, the pink clay is my favorite) Painting my nails (yes I hate the smell, but I feel more like me if my nails look good- plus I save money by doing it myself and I save my head by not stepping into the actual nail salons.) Listening to podcasts while I do chores (especially laundry) Resting when I need it – I don’t push myself to do unnecessary things the way I used to. Some days are purely just about surviving. Staying well hydrated. Water all day and only one glass of tea in the morning. If I’m not feeling well I will sip ginger ale. Trying to get a good amount of sleep – super important, if I don’t get enough sleep it’s a sure trigger for a migraine.
I’m a gratitude junkie. Can you share three things you’re grateful for right now?
I love gratitude as well, and try to really focus on that daily- especially small, everyday things that a lot of people take for granted. *My husband – seriously I can never say enough about the man. He is my everything and I would be lost without his love and support. *My boys – They have given me my greatest dream, to be a mom. They are also miracle babies, true gifts from God. Not matter what I am going through I look at them and just feel my heart swell with eternal gratitude. *My blog – I didn’t know I would love it as much as I do. Having people visit my tiny corner of the internet always amazes me. I am humbled to be able to help even just one person. I am so grateful that I have to chance to be supportive and raise awareness. *My new heating pad – it might seem small, but I use it a lot and having a good one feel like a luxary!
Tell me your favorite…
“And if not He is still good…” Daniel 3:18
“Lord, forgive me for picking back up what I’ve already laid at your feet.”
“Life is the Beauty, Migraine is the Beast” (My own quote …The whole inspiration behind my blog!)
I am doing my best. That is all I can expect of myself.
I am allowed to say no and still be a good person.
Thy will be done
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
Outlander (the whole series), Diana Gabaldon
Embraced, Lysa Terkeurst
Renew You (Quinn Kelly)
Mom Brain (Daphne Oz & Hilaria Baldwin)
Get Real (Caroline Hobby)
Magnolia (magazine), Mantra Wellness Magazine, Jenna Kutcher (blog/podcast all of it, she’s super inspiring).
Get Social with Pamela!
This interview is part of Holistiq’s Wellness Warrior series – a celebration of those battling and surviving chronic illness with mindfulness, strength and encouragement to others.