A letter from one mother living with multiple sclerosis (MS) to her younger self
Dear 20-year old me,
I know you’re probably still in shock, and you’re probably feeling very confused and scared about your multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. You went from knowing almost nothing about MS to lying inside an MRI machine, waiting to understand what was causing all those strange symptoms. You don’t know anyone who has MS, and you don’t know what your future holds.
Hearing that news in your twenties is not easy, nor is it fair. Before it happened, you were carefree, having fun with your friends, and in love; almost superhuman. But life can be unexpected sometimes and you never know what will come next. You need to know that your boyfriend leaving you because he didn’t want a sick girlfriend, isn’t your fault. I know that between the breakup and the diagnosis, you think your life is over. I know you think you’ll never become a mother and that no-one will ever want to be with you. But you’re wrong and that’s why I’m writing you this letter. Because even though you feel devastated right now, I promise you everything will be ok.
Please don’t give up on your dream of being a mother. You and I both know it’s in your future and what you want more than anything. Trust yourself and stay strong. Don’t let MS define who you are. Because in 10 years, we are blessed with three beautiful children and a husband who has been by your side through the best and worst times.
I must warn you that navigating motherhood and MS isn’t always easy, but it’s the best and most rewarding thing that will ever happen to you. Like your MS diagnosis, it will completely change your life but in a profoundly different way. It’ll give you a new lease of life and a sense of purpose in this world – being a mother is what will make you, you.
Being pregnant for the first time with MS will be terrifying at first. You’ll be scared of your body, the disease, and for your baby. Surprisingly, your first pregnancy will go beautifully, but the second and third will be harder and will take more of a toll on your body. You will need to make a lot of changes to your lifestyle, and you will need to learn to take care of yourself. My advice to you is to reduce stress, fix your diet, and focus on exercise. With each new step, it’s all going to be worth it.
You should prepare yourself for such a huge and exciting adventure if you remember to stay strong, positive, and be true to who you are. You are powerful, independent, and a wonderful mother. Don’t ever take no for an answer. One day in the future, you will be a role model for other mothers with MS by sharing your journey. You will inspire others to strive for their dreams like motherhood is yours, no matter the barriers. Always remember that the goal in life is to always be uniquely you. You can do anything.
Your future self