My guest blogger today is a mum, psychologist, health researcher and MS survivor. She writes a brilliant blog at memsandbeingmum – take a look!
Anyone who has been diagnosed with MS knows this is big. The implications of your diagnosis for your children are huge, though in many respects are as yet unknown. Like so much about this condition, you are left with a cloud of uncertainty under which you must continue to raise your precious loves.
Like me I am sure many of you read the information and depending on what and where you read it, it will mean different things.
At the very least your kids are a lot more likely to get MS than a kid whose parent doesn’t have MS. 20 -40 times more likely than someone who doesn’t have a parent with MS. Shit.
I had unknowingly passed on my blue eyes, a love of musicals and a genetic vulnerability to MS.
I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about this. When I didn’t feel guilty I felt terrified. Then sad. Then a bit angry. Then sad. You get the idea… What I have learned this year though, and New Year seems a good time to reflect, is that remaining in the sad/angry/guilty ‘fug’ was not going to help my kids.
So. I began to think how I would want them to respond to their MS if it did become a reality for them. Just thinking like that was a pretty painful process, as you can imagine. But once I started it became quite clear.
Their response to it would undoubtedly be informed by their mother’s response to it. By the extent to which they saw their mother fight for her health. By the extent to which they saw MS dictate to her what she could and could not do. By how flaky she was. By how strong she was. I would want them to think “well, it never stopped Mum doing anything” and then bugger off and climb Kilimanjaro or something equally wonderful and exciting. Because that is what I want for my kids. The same as any other parent. I want their life to be wonderful, adventurous and exciting. Happy and healthy. Full of love. I want them to be able to ‘dare greatly’ because they feel strong and fearless. Because they know they are loved.
For them to do this, I need to live my life fearlessly. I need to be strong, happy and to love them and my life fully in spite of its challenges. I can make a practical impact on their views about food, what they eat, if they exercise and how they can live an optimally healthy life. Above all though, I do not want them to feel afraid if MS comes into their life. Into their brain. When I began to think in this way I was flooded with a new energy to face the future. It all began to seem quite simple. I am doing it all, for them.