Parenting with Migraines (Social Distancing Day 174)

Me, after 6 hours of migraine pain, 3 hours into the relief from my rx meds.

I first started having migraines when I was in undergrad. I remember going to a neurologist, both here in Nashville while in school and back home over the summer, to make sure there wasn’t anything obviously abnormal going on. All tests came back clear so I kept on with my prescription for Imitrex.

A couple years later, they stopped. It was never recommended to me to keep a journal to track triggers so I never really knew what caused them. At this point I had another migraine maybe once or twice a year but it wasn’t worth keeping up with the med refills. I instead just coped by spending the day (or days) in the dark in bed, hoping to be able to sleep through the pain.

Then I became a parent and the migraines returned, with a vengeance. I just last month re-upped my Imitrex prescription and have already had to refill the meds.

Moments captured while Mama was sleeping.

I’ve casually kept note of possible triggers and have narrowed the options down to two: weather/atmospheric changes and/or my cycle. The weirdest thing is that any significant weather fronts that have come through have coincided with my menstrual cycle. My cycle, though, is so unpredictable since I’ve had an IUD.

I share all this to normalize talk about migraines and women’s health but also commiserate with other parents who might be better at coping and parenting simultaneously.

Moments captured while Mama was sleeping.

Today, for example, I woke up at 5:45 am because M was wide awake and asking for a Goop Tales podcast. My head was aching but I wasn’t sure how bad it was going to get so I went back to bed and tried to fall asleep. M’s dad thankfully took over primary parenting for the morning so I could see where things would go. By 10:00 am it was clear that it wasn’t just a regular headache but a migraine and it was quickly becoming one of my worst in terms of degree of pain and symptoms (nausea). Took my meds and it wasn’t until 5 hours later, around 3:00 pm, that I started feeling relief.

How do you do it? How do you care for another human being when you yourself feel so helpless?

Maybe Imitrex isn’t working for me anymore. Have you found something that works to help prevent them? Manage them more timely? Please share in a comment below!

2 thoughts on “Parenting with Migraines (Social Distancing Day 174)

  1. Feeling for you, friend! Pre-motherhood I would occasionally get some bad headaches that seemed to be hormonal. After I had Idgie, ugh, once I got my period back it was a nightmare. I had the worst migraines some months way worse than others. I once spent a day and a half sleeping in a friend’s spare room when we were visiting because of it. You won’t want to hear this but when we starting eating plant based and cut out dairy they went away. They come back if I have a month (like the last two) where I indulge in too much dairy. It’s sad really because I love me some cheese and buttery baked goodness but it’s worked for me.


    1. Thank you for sharing your experience! I’ve actually cut most animal products out of my diet already and am moving towards eliminating them entirely in the next few weeks. The dairy is *sort* of tough just because of baking. It’s butter and cheese I can’t loosen my grip on! LOL. I already do oat or soy milk at home, but I cannot give up a slice of toast with a melty slab of real butter. I’m motivated to give it a go, though, in hopes that I can kick these migraines out for good!


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