Friday, April 2, 2021

Colorado Lawmakers Debate Bill Surrounding Prescription Drug Prices

A little late sharing this, but I was recently interviewed by Shaun Boyd on CBS4 News (via Zoom!) about the new prescription drug affordability board bill being considered in the Colorado state legislature.

You can view the news clip here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Children's Book Review: How Many Marbles Do YOU Have?


Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of motherhood with chronic illness is helping your children understand what is going on with your body and encouraging acceptance about how your illness may impact them. How can you help them develop empathy about what you're experiencing, especially if your illness is invisible? Where's the line between being honest and making them worry? What's the best way to address their concerns in kid-friendly language? This is a topic that will likely need to be an ongoing discussion in your family - and sometimes reading a book together can help!


Click below to read a review of "How Many Marbles Do YOU Have? Helping Children Understand The Limitations of Those With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia" by Melinda Malott. 

Children's Book Review: How Many Marbles Do YOU Have?

Mamas Facing Forward

Friday, February 26, 2021

My Life with RA: Mariah Zebrowski Leach

In some strange ways, I think RA helped prepare me for motherhood. Being diagnosed with RA taught me the importance of realistically allocating my time and energy – giving myself credit for what I can accomplish and letting go of guilt for unfinished tasks.
Mariah Leach

RheumatoidArthritis.net interviewed me about living with rheumatoid arthritis for over a decade and my experiences with motherhood.

My Life With RA: Mariah Zebrowski Leach

RheumatoidArthritis.net

Thursday, February 25, 2021

3 Tips for Achieving Big Life Goals While Living with Chronic Illness

The uncertainty that comes with diagnosis of a lifelong chronic illness can make it feel really difficult to plan in advance. But living with a chronic illness shouldn’t mean giving up on life goals that are really important to you...As an example of how to approach big life goals while living with a chronic illness, I’m going to use what seemed like a pretty outrageous goal that I set for myself in 2016: riding in the Arthritis Foundation’s California Coast Classic.

Mariah Leach

In this article I share some of the strategies I used in completing my goal of riding my bike 525 miles in the Arthritis Foundation's California Coast Classic - and how you can apply these same strategies to achieving big life goals while living with chronic illness.

3 Tips for Achieving Big Life Goals While Living with Chronic Illness

Mamas Facing Forward

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Children's Book Review: Aunt Barby's Invisible, Endless Owie

A special kind of guest is coming to visit! Aunt Barby has an invisible, endless owie - but there are lots of things to help her feel better when she visits. With fun cartoon illustrations, this book explains to children that while the owie may never go away, neither will the love for them. 

Today we're featuring our review of "Aunt Barby's Invisible, Endless Owie" by Barby Ingle & Tim Ingle - and we're giving away a copy of the book over on Instagram!

Children's Book Review: Aunt Barby's Invisible, Endless Owie

Mamas Facing Forward

Friday, February 19, 2021

Black Maternal Health

In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to take a moment to recognize the disparities that Black mothers are still facing today when it comes to maternal healthcare. 

At school, my kids primarily learn about Black History Month in terms of events that have happened in the past – so when we talk about these issues at home, I always try to create a link and make them aware of the disparities that continue to exist today. It reminds me that I, too, have a lot to learn about these inequalities – and what we might be able to do to address them. I hope you will use the resources I’ve provided below and take some time this month to learn more about Black maternal health.

Black Maternal Health

Mamas Facing Forward


Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Role of the Mamas Facing Forward Facebook Group in the Chronic Illness Community

In their open-ended answers, many participants spoke about not wanting to feel isolated or alone, and shared how they wanted to be connected to real people going through similar experiences. We linked this desire for emotional support with the idea of community. While only 10 women chose emotional support as their primary motivation for joining the group, more than three quarters of the women included at least one answer that we thought discussed community.  
Mariah Leach

 
This article is based on a presentation I gave at the virtual American College of Rheumatology Annual meeting on November 8, 2020. This article shares some of the conclusions we've drawn from the open-ended answers of our survey.
 

The Role of the Mamas Facing Forward Facebook Group in the Chronic Illness Community

Mamas Facing Forward

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Survey Shows Moms With Chronic Illness Need More Support From Their Doctors

During the survey, we asked what participants would like healthcare providers, researchers, or policymakers to know about the experiences and needs of mothers with chronic illness. We’re still working with this data to see what we can learn from it, but interestingly at least three quarters of the women answered this question by expressing frustration that their needs were not being met.  

Mariah Leach

This article is based on a presentation I gave at the virtual American College of Rheumatology Annual meeting on November 8, 2020. It shares the results of a survey conducted in the Mamas Facing Forward Facebook group.

Survey Shows Moms With Chronic Illness Need More Support From Their Doctors

 Mamas Facing Forward


Friday, February 12, 2021

ACR Convergence Today: Mothers with rheumatic diseases need more support from healthcare providers

I recently presented at the virtual American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting alongside researcher Courtney Wells and occupational therapist Cheryl Crow. This article has an overview of the important points made during the session:

Mothers with rheumatic diseases need more support from healthcare providers

ACR Convergence Today

Thursday, February 11, 2021

On Valentine's Day and Every Day

Valentine's Day tends to provoke expectations about romance - where everything is supposed to be perfect. But, here in reality, life is hardly ever perfect. If you are lucky enough to have a partner who supports you, I hope you will let them know how much they mean to you - no matter what day of the year it is! 

Today I share the reasons I love my husband as supports me through living with a chronic illness.

On Valentine's Day and Every Day

Mamas Facing Forward

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The 5 Love Languages – A Tool For Improving Communication in Relationships

Communication is essential in any relationship, but it’s especially important in a relationship where one partner is living with a chronic illness. A lifelong diagnosis can change the dynamics of a relationship. It can alter the roles that each partner needs to play going forward. It can create additional challenges that you'll need to figure out how to address – together.

The 5 Love Languages is a book written by Gary Chapman in 1995, and the concepts it introduces can be a useful tool when communicating with your partner.

The 5 Love Languages – A Tool For Improving Communication in Relationships

Mamas Facing Forward

Friday, February 5, 2021

Talking to Your Doctor About Sex & Chronic Illness

It may seem uncomfortable or embarrassing to contemplate, but if you're struggling with your sexual health - and your doctor hasn't proactively asked you about it - it's a good idea to try to initiate the conversation yourself.

This article has some things to keep in mind as you consider how to approach your doctor on this personal subject.

Talking to Your Doctor About Sex & Chronic Illness

Mamas Facing Forward

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Book Review: Sex – Interrupted: Igniting Intimacy While Living With Illness or Disability

Even though chronic illness is quite common (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 have two or more chronic diseases) I've always had difficulty finding resources that addressed the impact chronic illness could have on relationships and intimacy. 

Now there’s a book that addresses that exact issue: Sex – Interrupted: Igniting Intimacy While Living With Illness Or Disability. Iris Zink, rheumatology nurse practitioner, and Jenny Thorn Palter, former editor of Lupus Now magazine, have written a book that recognizes the intimacy issues chronic illness patients often face and offers useful suggestions for healthcare providers and patients alike.

Click below to read my review of the book!

Book Review: Sex – Interrupted: Igniting Intimacy While Living With Illness or Disability

Mamas Facing Forward 

You can also visit www.intimacyandillness.com for more information. The first 50 people to purchase the book through their website will receive a free gift of a Pure Romance lubricant sample.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sex: Tips to Improve Intimacy

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can make its way into every aspect of your life, including your sex life…You can still have a healthy sex life if you have RA…But you might have to find different ways that work best for you and your partner. 

WebMD

I was recently interviewed for the WebMD article linked below, which gives tips for improving intimacy while living with rheumatoid arthritis. I speak from personal experience when I say this is a topic where it used to be impossible to find positive, uplifting advice. That’s the reason I started speaking out on this very personal subject in the first place! It’s exciting to see this topic covered by a more mainstream health publication! Hopefully the article will help bring awareness that couples facing these challenges are not alone or unusual – and encourage people to reach out to their doctors for help if necessary.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sex: Tips to Improve Intimacy

WebMD

Friday, January 29, 2021

Tips for Parenting with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Parenting is tough – but rewarding – to start with. Throw in a chronic condition like RA, and that delicate balance between your self-care and your role as a parent can easily get thrown off. These tips and strategies can help you handle difficult days, manage your energy, and make meaningful memories with your family.
WebMD

I was recently interviewed for the WebMD article linked below, which gives tips for parenting while living with rheumatoid arthritis. Though the article focuses on RA, many of the tips mentioned would be applicable for other chronic illnesses as well!

I’ve always believed that parents living with chronic illness deserved more recognition and support – its why I started Mamas Facing Forward in the first place! So It’s exciting to see this topic covered by a more mainstream health publication. Hopefully this article will help other parents realize they are not alone – and find their way to us where we can continue supporting them!

Tips for Parenting With Rheumatoid Arthritis

WebMD