Parenting with MS

I know a lot of women with MS discuss/question if they should have children after receiving their diagnosis of MS. Well, I can’t say that I had to ‘make’ that decision because I wasn’t diagnosed until after I had both of my boys.

I do know people who have MS that have decided to get pregnant after receiving their diagnosis. I know that it isn’t an easy decision, because you don’t know how you’re going to be with your disability level and such in the future.

No one knows what the future holds

Well, let me just say that NO ONE knows what the future holds. Now, if you’re thinking about getting pregnant, it is recommended not to be on any DMD’s during this time and during pregnancy, due to possible birth defects from the medications. It’s also been said that once you have the child, you experience a BIG flare.

Now I may not have KNOWN I had MS when I got pregnant, but I did have MS at that time, when I think back to some of the ‘strange’ things that occurred. However, I didn’t have any ‘strange’ feelings/symptoms during either of my pregnancies. It has been studied, and still is being studied, that whatever hormone we have while pregnant, seems to stop MS from bringing on a relapse. You can read more about the study here.

Talk to your partner and healthcare team

I believe this is a decision you need to make with your significant other, as well as your health care team. Make a list of the pros and cons. If I had to choose now, I wouldn’t want my MS to hold me back from what I wanted. But I don’t have to make that decision, so I can’t honestly say what I would be thinking.

Now when it comes to being a parent, it’s of course not a walk in the park. Adding MS in to the mix doesn’t help the situation either. I’m not saying that my kids (ages 7 and 4) are a burden; I’m saying that my MS is a burden.

Most of you know that I live in Central Texas, so I have to deal with the summer heat. That being said, when my kids want to go out and do something… I can’t always do that with them. My oldest son seems to understand more that ‘Mommy doesn’t feel good, and the heat makes it worse’. But my younger son… he is still trying to understand why I can’t do everything that I used to.

MS doesn’t always slow me down

My MS doesn’t always slow me down. I’m able to do a lot more with the kids when it’s not 100+ degrees Fahrenheit outside. I have enrolled them in to camps during the summer, so that they aren’t stuck inside all the time. I also try and take them to chik-fil-a, or any other restaurant that has an inside playground.

I honestly think that your maternal instinct kicks in and you just find ways to adjust to certain aspects in life, after you have been diagnosed and fully understand how your MS affects you.

It’s not easy

Now don’t get me confused, this isn’t easy. I have made sure that my oldest son knows how to reach someone, in case I fall, or need another adult at home in case of emergency.

Last year I took part in my oldest son’s elementary class activities. I was the “Room Mom” and a part of the PTA. He asked me if I could do these things, since other moms were up there a lot, being involved in a lot of the class activities.

Let me just say, last year was an eye opener for me on what I was ‘capable’ of. The teachers and other staff members knew of my MS and that I couldn’t always be there, so that helped. But this year, I decided to be involved but not TOO involved. (If you get what I’m saying on that.)

I had to learn fast

So, let me conclude with the fact that when I was diagnosed, my boys were ages 4 and 2… and again, they are now 7 and 4. So I had to learn real fast on how to be a mother to them that they deserve and that I wanted to be, while keeping my ‘MS limits’ in mind.

And before you ask… No, I do not plan on having any other kids; I made sure that I couldn’t. After two kids, boys at that (who were wonderful surprises) I’ve decided I have enough on my plate as it is.

Oh – and there are resources out there to help your children understand MS a bit more or if you’re wanting more info on pregnancy with MS. I’ve listed a few from MSAA & NMSS

Mommy’s Story

Daddy’s Story

For Kids: Keep Smyelin

MS & Pregnancy

Timmy’s Journey to Understanding MS

Books about MS – National MS Society

If y’all wanna message me to discuss this or ask me any questions, you can do so by the links below.

xoxo

Ashley

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