31 Days of SMA: On Being a Wife, Mom, and Caregiver for My Spouse

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forging relationships | SMA News Today | banner image for 31 Days of SMA 2022

caregiving for a spouse | SMA News Today | The Bingman family: Steve, Brittan, Christian, and Azlyn

From left, Steve, Brittany, Christian, and Azlyn Bingman. (Photo courtesy of Brittany Bingman)

Day 8 of 31

This is Brittany Bingman’s story:

As a little girl growing up, I had this perfect idea of whom I would marry and what kind of family I would have. It all came true, but with a few differences I never dreamed of. Fast forward, and Steve and I have been together for 12 years, married for 11, and I became a mom through adoption — all while being my husband’s primary caregiver. Steve has spinal muscular atrophy type 2.

Having a spouse with SMA and being his primary caregiver has changed some aspects of what I pictured the roles of wife and mom would look like. We are still able to do typical couple things like travel, go on dates, move for job opportunities, and experience parenting. But as a caregiver, I have to plan for things differently to accept more responsibilities and meet everyone’s needs, including my own. For example, I am the main vehicle driver in the family, so I may need to juggle my work schedule to make sure I get everyone to their destinations.

People have asked me how I can be my husband’s caregiver and still keep the romance alive. The answer is quite easy. During times when I help him, we have conversations, and he always cracks jokes to make me laugh. Romance comes in all kinds of ways, so instead of making caregiving a chore, we take advantage of the extra time spent together by making it fun.

Being his primary caregiver is not always easy, especially when he is not feeling well. I make sure I get my own self-care time by doing things that I enjoy, such as spending time outside, going on walks, exercising, reading, watching my favorite TV shows, talking with friends, and coffee!

Although I have many roles, I know life will not give me anything I cannot handle. It helps that I have an amazing husband who supports me no matter what. I encourage everyone to find their person, even if it’s not the way you had planned it.

SMA News Today’s 31 Days of SMA campaign will publish one story per day for SMA Awareness Month in August. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofSMA, or read the full series.

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