Parenting with multiple sclerosis
Many people, newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, wonder how they will be able to raise their family. In fact, until recently many doctors told women with MS not to have children.
But, it is possible to raise even a large family if you have multiple sclerosis. Like everything else, it takes planning and willingness to take an honest look at your health and abilities.
Don’t try to do to be ‘super mom or dad.’ It’s important to remember that even parents without MS have trouble keeping up with everything. Parents with MS should learn to budget their time, and more importantly, their energy. Plan a trip to the playground for times you have more energy, read books and do quiet activities with your kids during those times you‘re likely to feel more tired.
As your child grows, be honest with them about your health. Children are naturally forgiving, and they understand more than most adults give them credit for.
Don’t be afraid to tell your child when you need to change plans because of multiple sclerosis symptoms. For example, if you have planned to take your child on a nature hike during the weekend, but find yourself exhausted, there is nothing wrong with telling your child how you’re feeling. You can suggest another, less physical activity and go hiking when you feel better.
Prioritize your activities. Learn to say yes to things that are important to you and your child, and say no to those things that hold less weight. Try to do only one or two major things each day. If you spend two hours doing the weekly grocery shopping, leave other errands for another day. When the grocery shopping is finished, do a quiet activity what won’t require a lot of energy.
Keep in mind that learning to be respectful of mom or dad’s physical limitations may help your child become understanding, and tolerant of those around him/her. Children of parents with disabilities tend to grow up to be responsible, caring and very loving adults.