As a person living with MS-family relationships are most likely always on your mind. Whether you have MS, or a family member does, you are going to have specific questions and concerns that come up from time to time. And it's best to deal with these questions when they come up, not letting them grow into something unmanageable.
As a woman, you probably have a wide variety of questions. If you are young, you may still want to have a family, so pregnancy issues will come up. Should you have children? What about the medication you take – can you take it if you're pregnant?
If you can't take the medicine, will your MS progress or get worse while you're carrying a child? Will you need more help than normal? If so, who can you depend on for it? How will you manage more than one child, it that happens?
Women are effected by MS at a rate of about 2 to 1 more than men. There are more women with MS, but men usually have more severe disability. Sexual dysfunction is common in both men and women. Furthermore, men may suffer from ED or erectile dysfunction.
Both men and women deal with family issues from unique perspectives. If a mom has MS, will she be able to manage the children when she needs to or will her partner need to take more of the responsibilities? As a dad with MS, how will it effect his relationship with his children?
Managing work and providing for the family can also weigh on both mom and dad, depending on who has MS. And when you add children in the mix, there is a whole other side to the story. Children can either have a parent or family member with MS, or they can have it themselves.
How do you answer their questions about why mom or dad can't spend time with them. Or why a parent can't come to their games or school events. If a parent needs help, will a teen be expected to forfeit their activities to stay home with them?
If we could go back in time, there's one thing I would like to have done differently. That would be sitting our children down and explaining to them what MS is in terms they could understand. They may not have been able to fully comprehend it, however, I believe it would have helped them to deal with some of the disappointments along the way.
Things like plans for special outings having to be changed more often than not. Dad not being able to attend meetings or programs. And even vacations cut short or cancelled because of a flare-up or an exacerbation. For children, these can seem more like broken promises instead of simply postponements.
It can be a difficult thing to talk about to your child, however, just saying your dad has MS, may not be enough. Just think about when you found out you or your family member had multiple sclerosis. Did you know anything about it? And if you did, your knowledge of it was most likely incomplete.
If you are looking for books to help you explain MS to your child, try the following selection from Barnes & Noble Jr. - Barnes & Noble Jr. Multiple Sclerosis. (Clicking the link will open a new window.)
So the following list deals with family issues you may have to deal with, depending on your situation:
Want to find out about self-help issues and how they relate to living with MS? Click the link to find out more.
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Cir & Akrista
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