The Migraine

I write from my heart.  I share glimpses of our lives that I want to encapsulate.  Memories that I hope to recall through photos and words when my mind fails in the accuracy of precious details.  I imagine that some may perceive my perspective as comparable to my heart birthing a procession of baby unicorns, releasing magical balloons, rainbows and buckets of glitter onto the earth – as baby cherubs join in song.

The thing is, in every single day, there are moments of  stark beauty and  joy.  Those visions are what I am compelled to write about. Each blessing worthy of documenting moment by moment.  I attend my daily mistakes, olympic level bambino meltdowns and struggles of motherhood in other ways.  I consult a steadfast friend and move on.  I don’t usually care to spend my time penning them here. The joys I see are what get me through the days, and are just as much a component of my journey as are the heaver aspects of life and mothering.  But those blissful, star-filled, simple moments- well those are what I choose to hang on to. I am finally comfortable enough to say, that is just who I am.

Recently, something has been stopping me in my tracks. 

I am a migraine sufferer.  In between the stories I share I am frequently bedridden for two days, violently vomiting and struggling to put myself back together piece by piece.  My migraines (first triggered in pregnancy) are not something that I can just plow through as they leave me completely incapacitated, and lately I have been struggling with managing them more than ever.  Every month I look at the calendar afraid of what I am going to miss; fearful of the business that I will mess up for my husband and the burden of him having to do it all; terrified of not being there for my children.  The avenues that used to help wax and wane now.  The drugs aren’t always effective, and my monthly IV magnesium infusions don’t seem to offer what they once did.

Thankfully, I was present for Lucia’s first day of Kindergarten. I did miss her second, her first full day of school.  Her first day of lining up in the school yard with all the other grades in the morning.  Her visible disappointment masked in bravery for her mama was heartbreaking to witness as a mother. It was hard not to succumb to feeling of ” I let her down”, when I was still ill the following day and couldn’t attend her friends rainbow birthday party as promised. 

I am not sharing this struggle to cue the violins or inspire a collective pity party.  I am fortunate and lessons gleaned from my struggles are worthy of documenting and remembering.

Upon recovering from a migraine and its hangover,  I always experience a profound level of gratitude- rooted in the very core of my being, vibrating through ever inch of my soul.  A depth of gratitude that moves me to tears as I walk down the street, push a stroller, or simply am present with my family because I am well enough to do so.  I always tell my daughter, “mama will get better” and the thing is, I do.   I am cognizant of the fact that for some, however, that is not the case.  I always have the opportunity to get better, and I have learned to be so thankful for that.  The heavy roads that many families must endure, continually make me think: it was just a migraine.  

I am digging deep to experience that true sense of gratitude without being first knocked down.  I want to live each day in absolute appreciation for all that I have.  I don’t want these moments of extreme clarity to appear only after being debilitated.

My four year old daughter helped me to realize recently that our lives are an aggregate of trillions of moments.  I am not defined by worst days, my less than stellar parenting moments, nor my migraines.  My family is not only hanging onto my days missed and I choose to believe in the opportunity that each new day brings.  I am thankful for the total summation of the many moments that comprise our lives. The hardships that are counteracted by glimmering moments of living room dance performances, blanket forts, braiding hair, tucking love notes into lunch boxes, sewing projects, wild imaginations, baking cookies, family dance time, saying yes, messy art, singing in the car, fierce creativity, partnership in marriage, giggles, early morning family snuggles, wallowing in silly, taking chances, the I love you’s, and I’m sorry’s.   Ferocious love.

The whole enchilada. 

My daughter asked me questions about my sickness last week, but she spoke more of the magnificent rainbow party that she attended.

I am determined to fight as hard as I can to manage my migraines and live in the level of gratitude that they have given me.  I am also going to follow my babies perspective because they speak of the rainbows. 

They remember the rainbows- and I try my damnedest to capture them here. 



  1. I do understand your feelings…though not suffering from migraines myself,I've been suffering to see my 7 year old daughter going through this…just yesterday she had to miss school because of it…but fortunately gets better in a day…

  2. I to struggled with migraines for years. For me it was an accident when I was 9 years old. My parents took me for x-rays, MRIs, specialists and chiropractors. It wasn't until I met my now husband who is a chiropractor that I have found relief. I have been migraine-free for almost 5 years. If you haven't already tried Chiropractic I urge you to find a *good* one in your area.

    Blessings and thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Mary,
      Thanks so much for sharing and am glad to hear that you have been free of migraines for so long with the help of chiropractic care (husband and healer? awesome!!). I just saw my chiropractor this week, since neck issues are usually involved with mine. Thanks so much for reaching out.
      All the best- Monica

  3. Hihi, I sure hope the migraines don't stop you in achieving what you wish to achieve, but I do wish they will go away for you soon. Glad to hear the positivity in your voice, that's the spirit! Do take care!

  4. So beautifully written, thank you for sharing

  5. My heart just goes out to you, because I can completely understand. I started suffering from migraines around the time I was 16 and went through the usual tests, but the cause was never determined (which, unfortunately, is common). I spent the better part of my late teens missing out on so much because of my migraines. For a few years, it felt like they would just come – one on top of the other – without much relief. The only way to get relief was to visit the ER and get put on a morphine drip, but eventually I built a tolerance to that and moved on to toradol. Ugh – just thinking of those years makes me so sad. For whatever reason, I started to get them less frequently as I got older, and while I still get bad headaches, my migraines only come once or twice a year.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share and give you a big (electronic) hug. I can only imagine how difficult this is for you to deal with as a parent 🙁 It sounds like you have a wonderful and supportive family, which is so important. **HUGS**

    • Thanks so much for the electronic hug..I felt it! Hearing about children and teens suffering from migraines is heartbreaking. I am so glad to hear that yours have subsided. I am fortunate that I never experienced one until I was in my late 20's. I used to go to my local ER (the folks there began to know me well and always rushed me in quickly)but my last trip was ineffective and I usually try to avoid going at all costs.
      I am lucky and my family is supportive. My husband always takes over in full force. And the majority of my days are great ones! Thanks so much for your kind words, they really mean a lot to me. xo – Monica

  6. beautifully put! Do hope you can find some solution!

  7. Jennifer twin mom says

    Dear Monica:
    I am a mom of twin girl toddlers. I guess you can call me a lurker. I have been following your blog for a long time and never comment. I want to tell you that your love just oozes out of your blog. I come here looking for something and I always get it. I hope that you do not ever feel like you need to explain yourself for celebrating and sharing the great things in your life. Your perspective lifts me up.
    My friend has migraine headaches and my heart goes out to you. You made me appreciate my health. I was just upset that my sitter cancelled and I never ever think of how lucky I am to hardly get sick.
    Wishing you well. Please keep writing and sharing, Jennifer – long time fan

  8. So very sorry that you are going through this!! I also struggle with migraines and can certainly understand. Please keep me posted if you find any good advice or remedies. I am always open to trying new things to keep mine away!

  9. Monica, I feel like you wrote this for me. I am a mom with migraine headaches and sometimes I feel alone in this battle. Some people don't understand the nature and severity of this battle. Migraines lead me into a deep depression and like you I can't plow through them. Thank you so much for sharing your story of hope and your uplifting perspective. Being so sick does make you appreciate your health more than ever. Please keep sharing the beauty in your days because your stories touch me. I am interested in learning more about magnesium too.

    • Dear Maria – I'm so sorry to hear about you migraines. It's disheartening to learn about how many women are affected by them – I have received so many similar emails since writing this post. I'm hoping that you have found (our will find) what works best for you! There have been recent studies associating migraines with magnesium deficiency. Some useful information can be found here: Wishing you all the best and thank you for commenting – you made me feel better about sharing this story!

  10. Thank you for writing this. I too suffer from migraines. While I was pregnant they went on hiatus, but after giving birth they came back with a vengeance. Like you, I often look at the calendar and worry what days a migraine may choose to strike. I hope as my daughter gets older she will understand why I may need to miss some of her important moments. Thankfully my partner is very supportive and does all he can (and more) while I'm battling one.

    • Great that you have a supportive husband and I hope that you find something to help! Thinking of you and thanks for your comment. xx – Monica

  11. Very powerfully spoken! My mom suffered from migraines, some years were worse than others. It taught me some important lessons, that my mom was human and not super woman, that I should have compassion for those close to you who suffer, and those not so close to you; that suffering is real and we struggle through it with empathy. I wish you all the best.

  12. This piece is in my top ten mom lit of 2012!

  13. I came to you through our mutual inclusion in 🙂 Currently dealing with a subsiding migraine (the meds work for me most of the time) I had to click on your post first. It is beautiful, and something to remember. For me, migraines have been part of my life since I was 16, so it is just another part of who I am. My son is very understanding and patient when I need a little rest, for that I am eternally grateful. Your perspective is very beautiful, we all need to remember the rainbows! Thank you!

    • I've actually been amazed at the amount of emails that I've received by women and mothers who suffer from migraines. I'm still working on living with daily gratitude and appreciate your message so so much. Wishing you the best of health and life. xx – Monica

  14. What a beautiful post – I'm here from LHTW. I love that you can focus on the beauty even when you are in so much pain. I used to suffer regularly from migraines but many, many visits to a chiropractor have made them a rare occurrence now. I hope you find something that works for yours soon.

    • Thank you for your comment. Although I wish that migraines were not a part of my story, I'm grateful for the depth of gratitude that they have made me experience upon recovery. I get better. I'm OK and I always try and remember that perspective. Some struggle with chronic illness and chronic pain every single day of their lives. I have recently had massive help via a skilled acupuncturist! Thank you so much for your well wishes and I'm so glad to hear that you have found help in a chiropractor.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.