“A poem is the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

MS and Childbearing


Families create
the foundational structure
of our existence.

Research demonstrates
MS affects decisions
about childbearing.

MS once again
thwarts life's normal unfolding


Karen said...

MS is such an unpredictable disease and affects everyone differently. It is unfortunate that so many people make the decision not to have children because of what "could" happen.
I expect it would be dependent on the degree of disability at the time of making the decision.

I know many families with children that have had to cope with serious health issues due to a variety of medical conditions. They seem to have managed quite well.

Muffie said...

I always considered myself fortunate that I didn't have MS when my children were young. Would it have affected my decision to have children? I'm not sure. I do know a woman who was severely disabled by MS, but she had a baby in her 40s! She said she actually felt better when she was pregnant, and for a while after the baby came, she walked unassisted. It's all a crap shoot.

Judy at Peace Be With You said...

Karen, it is an unpredictable disease. And many have coped well. The problem is affected, though, by a person's available support systems, a situation made worse by the high divorce rate among couples where one person has MS. When MS also comes at a young age, when financial stability may not have been established, the decision is made more difficult. There are also all the other factors presented in the research study (such as, will I physically be able to take care of a child?). In other words, it is a very complex situation. Kudos to those who have been able to pull it off, especially when quite young, but my compassion and understanding go to those who, for whatever personal reason, made a different choice.

Muff, yes, age of diagnosis does make a difference. As for pregnancy helping how an MSer feels, the research shows that, during pregnancy, there is an improvement in symptoms. However, the rate of relapse post-pregnancy goes up.

Dabble and the Mad Sow said...

I didn't know I had MS when my kids were young. I know my parenting was affected by my fatigue and pain. I regret that. And now I worry about them getting this disease, too, given the genetic potential link.

Judy at Peace Be With You said...

Dabble and the Mad Sow, thank you for sharing your experience. It points out not just that MS can affect the parenting experience but also that there may be a higher probability, slight though that increase may be, that the children might come down with this crappy disease. Meredith Viera's husband's father and grandmother also both had the disease.

Karen said...

My doctors think that I have had MS since my early twenties. It was suspected when I was 21, but there were no MRI's back then. We all knew something was terribly wrong, but really had no clue to what it was. I wanted a child more than anything else in my life at that time. I got pregnant (at 24), and had my darling Sweet Pea. I had a horrifying relapse of "whatever it was that was wrong with me" 3 months after she was born. I divorced, and had to go on welfare. I had no support, but I managed to start all over again. I had many relapses throughout her childhood, unknowingly.
Would I have chosen to have a child if I knew I had MS? I can't really speak to that. All I can say, is that we made it, and I have no regrets. I truly believe that more often than not, knowledge can be more of a hindrance than a help. I respect anyone's decision not to have children, for any reason, but I can't even begin to imagine my life without my daughter.
No one in my family had MS, and I pray that neither my daughter or granddaughter come down with it. Many in my family have had, and died from cancer, and heart disease. I also pray that neither of them succumb to those diseases. Like Muff said, it's a crap shoot.