MS and being a mom!

By: Kara Friesen

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 23 years old. I had a new baby and was already dealing with some post partum depression, so the diagnosis really threw me for a loop! I didn’t know what to do. On one hand, I felt relieved that I was able to receive a diagnosis and have an answer to the strange symptoms I was experiencing, but on the other hand, I was so terrified! Could I still be a mom? Could I be a GOOD mom?

One thing MS made me, was very tired. But I already had a baby to take care of! I was already tired. I had to learn to make sure I tried to nap when my son napped, just like many moms, even moms without MS, need to do. I had to make sure I was taking care of me, so that I could take care of my baby.

Since then, I’ve had another child, and now those ‘babies’ are 8 and 5! Of course I still deal with MS symptoms on a regular basis. One thing that’s really helped, is that my husband and I have been very open about my disease. The kids know that mom isn’t as healthy as some other moms, but I can still do fun stuff!

Last summer we went to the zoo, and I took a motorized scooter along – it saved my life! I was able to experience the zoo with the kids, and I didn’t over-exert myself or get exhausted to the point of no return. It was great!

Another thing I had to learn, was that it’s okay to say no. Did you have plans to go out with your girlfriends and now you’re riddled with a migraine? It’s okay to cancel. Did you have a really rough night of horrible insomnia and you had a full day planned? Just say no. It’s okay!

And for those rough days? Here’s a tip: keep some ‘easy meals’ in your freezer so that you can have a meal ready, even if you don’t have energy to cook. I always make sure to have some frozen pizzas on hand. They’re quick, easy, and everyone likes them. Win-win!

Life with MS forces you to make some changes, especially if you have young children to take care of. A mother’s work is never done – and many experts say it’s the hardest job on the planet! So give yourself a break, moms. It’s okay to let your kids watch a movie while you go rest. The laundry can wait. The dishes will still be there when you wake up. Your kids won’t love you any less.

Happy Mother’s Day! Order a pizza and relax – you deserve it!


Picture features two staff members of MS Cure Fund.

Ashley Ringstaff (left) and Kara Friesen (right) are two moms who were both diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010.