Tips I Learned About MS, Pregnancy and Becoming A Mother
Twenty-one years ago I became a mother. Finally. After two traumatic miscarriages, a lot of stress and many issues with my MS, I finally became pregnant one more time. I vowed to do everything possible to give birth to a healthy baby. Becoming a mother was the most important thing in my life.
My third pregnancy was a miracle in more ways than one.
The physical and emotional stress I endured during the two miscarriages caught up with me, causing a full-blown MS exacerbation. I needed to use a cane for balance issues, and drove with hand controls because my legs were completely numb.
When I became pregnant, the numbness and balance issues miraculously disappeared. I felt more energetic than I’d felt in years. I said adios to the hand controls and cane, and enjoyed a blissful nine months of pregnancy.
Months after giving birth, people would joke that I should always remain pregnant.
It is widely believed that the change in hormones during pregnancy is the reason why many women experience a temporary clinical improvement. This is not always the case, yet statistically speaking, many women experience a similar pregnancy to my own.
When my water broke two weeks before the due date, I was excited at the prospect of becoming a mother earlier than expected. The baby was born naturally, and our healthy son was born fifteen minutes before midnight on Frank Sinatra’s birthday.
In my book, it doesn’t get any better than that. My oldest brother, the first to arrive at the hospital the next morning said, “I just saw the Little Chairman of the Board.”
Looking back at that time is like looking back at Utopia. And although there were no approved MS medications to rely on, and because I did have an exacerbation a few weeks later, I’m sure I’ve blocked out a lot of the stress that was on my plate. But, in the end, it doesn’t really matter. Because my little bundle of joy continues to bring me joy to this day.
It was more than worth it.
Here is a short list of tips to help keep you healthy during and after pregnancy.
Take naps. Nap during pregnancy whenever possible. After the baby is born, nap while the baby is sleeping.
Ask for help. Don’t be shy about asking others for help. If someone offers, say yes. Recruit family or friends to help out when needed.
Get outside. Although my son was born in the winter, I took him for daily walks to make sure he got fresh air. I bundled him up, covered him with a blanket and went for a stroll. I enjoyed our time together, and knew getting fresh air was healthy for both of us.
Eat healthy foods. I tried to make sure to keep my strength up by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and drinking plenty of water. Getting enough vitamins and nutrients are important whether you’re breastfeeding or not. Taking good care of your baby is important. So is taking good care of yourself.
NOTE: This is my story of pregnancy and MS. No two cases of MS are exactly alike; no two cases of MS pregnancy are alike as well. When considering pregnancy, please consult with your MS specialist to discuss any questions or concerns.