Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a condition of the central nervous system which interferes with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Symptoms include problems with vision, balance, muscle control and body functions.
According to MS Australia, MS affects over 23,000 people in Australia and more than two million people worldwide are with the condition. Diagnosis usually occurs between the ages of 20 – 40 and it affects approximately three times more women than men. The cause is unknown.
If you’re a parent who has received a diagnosis of MS, it can be daunting to think of juggling the condition with everyday responsibilities. However, with the right support, MS can’t get in the way of your being the parent you always planned to be.
There are some ‘ordinary’ things which MS will make difficult, such as playing soccer with your child. Parents with MS may have a newfound appreciation of the important things in life, including their relationship with their children. Playing fun board games and undertaking more manageable activities can be very rewarding. As one mother with MS writes, “being a parent who has MS means that you get creative out of necessity.”
Hiding the symptoms of MS usually doesn’t work. Kids are more resilient than you think. They’re also perceptive, and imaginative. Either they’ll know already or they might imagine something much worse. They might be upset if you have to cancel plans, so let them know why and communicate your disappointment as well. Reassure them that you will do it another time when you feel better.
Take Care of Yourself
“Tending to your own needs isn’t selfish”, says Rosalind Kalb, PhD, Vice President of Clinical Care at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Rest is extremely important for people living with MS. If you push yourself too hard, it could mean you need to take a week to recover.
If you’re living with MS, there’s a community of support available. Many people have friends or family who are enormously supportive. There are also advocacy groups like MS Australia who can connect you with other parents with MS who can be excellent for providing support and tips.
People with MS are also eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Zest Care has been providing In-Home Child Care for over 16 years, and also offer fully funded Support Services. Our team of dedicated Educarers and Support Workers can help you achieve your goals. Start the life you want – today.