My mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) roughly a year after I was born. She didn’t necessarily hide it, but I didn’t know about it until I was 5 or 6. To be honest, we don’t remember how the topic came up, but she said I may have asked why she needed to get shots.
One action that stuck with me was the moment my mom handed me a pamphlet about multiple sclerosis she printed off the MS Society website. Since I have always preferred to read and research various subjects, having the physical material to reference made it easier for me to process the conversation. What followed was an open discussion where I could ask her questions and she would answer to the best of her ability. Thankfully, my mom was always very encouraging when it came to education and medical topics were no different. She talked with me about MS in a way that was open and honest, which helped me understand what her life was like.
Because of her honesty, I knew why my mom was tired or why she couldn’t keep up with me at times. I don’t doubt that as a kid I tried to push her past her limits, but I was knowledgeable about the “why” behind her “no.”
I believe letting your kids know about your multiple sclerosis will help strengthen your relationship with your child. You depend on each other as a family, and they should know what MS is and how it impacts your life. It is also useful information to know when it comes to medical family history. In addition to understanding what you go through, it will help improve their views of others with chronic illnesses and disabilities and help foster greater accessibility and understanding in the future.
I’ve seen my mom have good days and I’ve witnessed her struggle to make it through the bad ones. I can honestly say the way I’ve handled my own chronic illnesses is a direct result of seeing how my mom went on living her life with multiple sclerosis.