When are You Expecting to Expect?

“So, when are you expecting to expect?”

Literally the first question people asked me when I got married last year.


Thing is I hadn’t a clue! I’m a career girl through and through. That doesn’t mean I don’t want kids, but... when?

Also, I have to say that I think personally it’s really wrong that people assume I’ll have a baby straight after getting married.

Firstly, because how do they even know I want a baby?

Secondly, how do they know if I can even have a baby?

Why do people presume that someone can even have a baby? Why assume just because I’m young it’ll be straight forward? Why not just wait till I bring it up or hint at it to make me bring it up?

That huge downside to MS comes out once again when you remember everyone thinks there’s nothing wrong with you because you “look normal.”

Thing is, I feel like a ticking time bomb.

I could have a huge relapse tomorrow or in 2 months or a year or whatever and lose the feeling in my whole body. What do would I do then?

As time passes however, I am considering starting a family more and more. My husband and I have discussed it at length, and I’ve told him all of my concerns. They go round and round in my head each time I think about it, each individually driving me crazy with paranoia:
  • How will my body cope with being pregnant?
  • How will my MS react to pregnancy?
  • Will I pass the MS onto my child?
  • What will it be like coming off my meds?
  • What will it be like going back on my meds after the baby is born?
  • How will my fatigue hinder being able to look after my child?
  • What if my arms are too weak to hold my baby?
  • What if I drop my baby?!
  • What if I’m too exhausted to give birth?
  • What if the brain fog gets so bad, I forget I have a baby and leave it somewhere?!
  • What if I can’t look after it myself?
There seems to be so much contradictory information out there for pregnancy and MS and it seems hard to predict how each person's MS will react. Which I suppose makes sense because everyone’s MS is different.

I have been talking to a lady in an MS group I follow on Facebook who has MS and is expecting her first child. We’ve discussed at length how she’s found it all so far and it turns out we’re at a similar level of the MS scale. It really helped me to make my mind up a bit more about whether to commit to it or not.

I think the thing with me is that I’m useless with change. It causes me great anxiety, and there is nothing that is a bigger change for me than having kids. It’s super scary to me.

As far as I know I’ll have to plan to come off all my MS tablets which will take up to around 6 months if not more.

We’ll then need to try to get pregnant which may or may not happen.

I’ll then need to stay off my tablets whilst going through pregnancy and battle whichever symptoms present themselves after giving birth (fun fun!). And at the end of it all it, somehow worry for the rest of my life about taking care of a child. Then I need to at some point go back onto my tablets and deal with all the side effects I had when I first started—and it was pretty severe.

So what do I do?
When is the right time?
Have you been through this?
If so, I’d love to read your experiences in the comments 👇🏻
 

To learn more about pregnancy in MS, visit the Society’s website 
 
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Jessie

Jessie Ace

Being diagnosed at 22 at the start of her career was hard, but Jess found it in herself to turn things around and use MS as a tool to give people new help and inspiration. She has now made it her life's mission to improve the lives of young people through The Disabled to Enabled podcast, through the Enabled Warriors' Facebook group and her ENabled Warriors Etsy store.

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    34 Comments

  • Gina   Apr 30, 2019 1:53 PM
    I just don't think you want to plan ahead so hard that you miss life! Life will find a way!
  • Rach   May 2, 2019 9:47 AM
    I am having these same exact thoughts especially as my cognitive function seems to be decreasing. How will I keep my baby safe? Looking forward to hearing more from others who have gone through this! Thanks for writing this!
  • Kristin   May 2, 2019 9:55 AM
    While not the same at all, my husband has MS and we have 3 little ones (5, 3 and almost 4 months) and I don't worry about him with any of them even though he does struggle with forgetfulness at times. He would never forget one of them as kids make themselves known and he is able to help fully with all aspects of their care. The only thing he doesn't do is wake at night as not getting enough rest definitely impacts him significantly. You could work around that though- if you formula feed, you could pass on all night feedings, and if you breastfeed, you could pump right before bed and leave the bottle for your spouse to give overnight. Initially when the baby wakes a lot at night, you could try getting up once or you could supplement with formula then. I'd just line up as much as help as you can and don't feel guilty about it- maybe you'll need it, maybe you won't. Good luck!
  • Leslie   May 2, 2019 10:06 AM
    I found out I was pregnant one day and that I had MS the next. I’m so glad I did as I do not know if I would’ve had a child if I knew ahead of time that I had it especially because my mother has it also and is secondary progressive and in a wheelchair. However, it was the greatest thing that could’ve happened to me. My son is the best thing about life and he ensures I take good care of myself so I can take great care of him. It is unfortunate that I cannot start any good medications until I’m done having kids. However, it’s been so great with him we want to have another. It is hard since the doctors tell me to do this ASAP so I can begin better treatments. I am a very anxious person also and asked myself all those questions while pregnant and still am asking those things while thinking of having a second. (By the way, the questions you ask are asked by most mothers...even the ones without MS. It’s great as it just means you care.)

    The bottom line....if you are aware and caring enough to ask all those questions then you are aware and caring enough to be a wonderful mother. Also, as a mother you become hyper aware of your ability to care for your child and you get stronger. I would say we benefit from instinctual abilities to care for our offspring that can overcome some of the MS challenges. You are programmed to ensure their survival and safety and this will come more naturally to you than anything else.

    If you want a child, dive in head first. You may even forget about the MS completely from time to time. They are SO worth it.
  • Cara Madell   May 2, 2019 11:04 AM
    I have had MS since college. I got married a bit later (34). Then my husband wound up being infertile. He had a corrective surgery and we went through IVF. It took three years to get pregnant but now our Miracle is 3. She was born six weeks premature...and I had a c section. Truly though, my only regret is that my husband’s surgery only found enough sperm for one child. Our daughter is smart, healthy and happy. My MS was stable through the pregnancy and I truly felt like my MS was stable, even without meds. I absolutely think your body can be a parent, and I wish you all of the best:)
  • andra   May 2, 2019 1:48 PM
    Let me start by saying that I had all these same concerns...some turned out to be fine (I felt better pregnant than I can ever remember feeling), some definitely still plague me (my son is now 2 and I'm not strong enough to pick him up). I will say it makes me proud to know that I'm raising an independent and empathetic young man, and I credit this partly to my MS. Family planning should always a personal decision, and every family has unique challenges, but definitely don't let MS scare you away from having kids if that's what you want. It is possible to survive and thrive with MS and kids!
  • C Locke   May 2, 2019 1:56 PM
    <3 Thank you for writing this. I have been running around in my own mind asking these questions for the last year. Even though I know I'm not the only one dealing with this added complication of conceiving, it's really nice to see someone else creating content to reinforce that I'm not alone and provide an outlook / perspective.
  • Mel   May 2, 2019 2:12 PM
    I needed to read this. My husband and I are considering starting a family, and I have had all those thoughts. I'm stable on my meds, and it terrifies me to think of going off them and having a relapse that could cause new and bigger issues. I wish I had something helpful to say like a few of the other commenters, but I wish you the best! You're not alone in your fears, so thank you for putting them out there.
  • J.   May 2, 2019 2:47 PM
    I understand your concerns. I have been living with MS for 21 years. Unfortunately, my husband and I decided that we would not have children. We talked about the various issues that could occur, and the risks involved were the decision maker. Due to the nature of my symptoms (I was suffering from severe spasms throughout my body), it wasn’t worth the risk because the medications I was taking and still taking, including the weekly injection to help suppress the spasms, would have to be stopped. Now, 21 years later, I’m still working, and have become very independent, especially now because my husband passed unexpectedly 3 years ago. My advice would be if you haven’t already done so, to discuss your concerns with doctor. Also, since you have questions, do you have a backup plan that can help alleviate a particular situation? Will you have a support system, if your husband can’t help out with tasks? Some things can’t be prevented because there is no guarantee in life, but you want to try to be prepared as much as possible, especially when children are involved. I hope that you and your husband will weigh in all the facts and possibilities to come to a sound decision, but ultimately the decision is yours because you are the one living with MS. All the best!
  • Denise Brady   May 2, 2019 2:56 PM
    In February 2017 I had a massive relapse was in hospital for 1mth and lost power in my arms and legs. In March I got pregnant with my third baby. It was a hard pregnancy because I hadn't recovered properly from my relapse. I had to use a crutch while pregnant as a was resists negative and they didn't know what blood type the baby was and if I fell it could have been harmful for the baby. The actual birth was fantastic. I had the epidural straight away so didn't have Labour pains just pressure and he was born naturally weighing 8lb 14. The staff were great as they knew my condition and you just get through it knowing you will meet your baby soon. He is 17months now and doing great. He is walking and trying to say word's. He is a blessing and once you have a baby it makes you focus on something else and even if you didn't have ms you will be tired!!!! But the love you have for this tiny human outweighs everything else. I had him in November 2017 and started back on meds February 2018. It is scary but figure out if a baby is what you want and try not be anxious about it. It's the best decision I've made but now I'm 41 so definitely no more babies for me. It is hard but everything in life is. Good luck
  • C.C. Hoff   May 2, 2019 3:18 PM
    I was diagnosed with MS at 20, married at 30 and had my son at 32. All my doctors were on board when my husband and I decided we were ready to try. I had to get off my meds and luckily got pregnant on the second try. Pregnancy hormones actually helped with the MS and never felt better in that regard. It was after delivery and restabilization of hormones that I crashed. My biggest advice is to not let having MS stop you from trying, but know that there are a lot of unknowns. Surround yourself with a good support system and accept help when needed. There is nothing wrong with formula fed babies so you can get back on your medications for MS treatment asap. My son is healthy and perfect. It did take a little extra time to establish a new normal, but luckily babies sleep a lot, so there's time to rest for both of you.
  • Katie Lucas   May 2, 2019 3:21 PM
    I was diagnosed with MS at 23 years old. My son is now 4 months old. I had to transition medications in order to try to get pregnant. It is a huge planning process when MS is involved. I’d be more than happy to connect and chat!
  • Laney   May 2, 2019 3:36 PM
    After being relapse free after 8 years and being relatively symptom free, my husband and I became pregnant. Everyone told me pregnancy would be wonderful and the best I’ve ever felt... boy was it a different story. I relapsed 3 times while pregnant, each time (thankfully) my symptoms eventually dissipated.
    After a full term pregnancy, I delivered a beautiful healthy little girl, and my husband and I could not be happier! Pregnancy took a tole on my body but she was the best thing that ever happened to us! Even 8 months post partum I do not have feeling in my right toes.
    The next difficult part is answering people when they ask when I’m having a second...
    Stay positive and do what feels right to you, you’re right, everyone’s MS is different and there’s no crystal ball to predict what will happen, do what’s right for you, when it’s right for you.
  • Dani   May 2, 2019 3:46 PM
    I've had these same thoughts. The 14 months before being diagnosed, my husband and I were trying to start a family. My husband had these thoughts as well. I don't think starting a family is even on the table anymore.
  • sarah   May 2, 2019 9:32 PM
    I've been walking to have a child since is was 22 years old. I told myself after college, I'll start a family and when I was 24 I discovered I had MS. Now with medical and financial concerns it feels like its never going to happen, but I love reading the stories of people who had children in mid thirties even dealing with spouse infertility. It gives me hope.
  • Leah   May 2, 2019 10:57 PM
    I have ALL of these worry's. I am 5yrs relapse free but still on my medication Gilenya and my Neuro suggests that I should stay on the meds as they are working. Problem is I desperately want to fall pregnant petrified to come off the meds to try. Has anyone fallen pregnant while on Gilenya and everything turned out ok or anyone got any advice regarding same? xx
  • Carrie  May 3, 2019 4:58 AM
    I’ve been living with MS for half of my life (diagnosed at 21). Now at 42 I’m done having children, and I’m so glad my husband and I decided to try. I love my 6 year old son with my whole heart and can’t imagine life without him. But it wasn’t an easy decision.

    We decided to wait to try conceiving until we got some other things off our list like traveling and other physical activities that I was afraid my body wouldn’t be able to do later in my life. I DO NOT regret that one bit! But I’m also glad we did try for a child.

    I got off my meds and birth control, waited close to 6 months then started trying. Luckily, after 2 tries I was pregnant. Going off meds worked out fine for me. Also being pregnant was the BEST I’ve ever felt since being diagnosed. I was truly SuperWoman. My water broke and labor went well and my son was born healthy.

    However, about 4 months after giving birth I had the worst exacerbation of my life to date. I had vision impairment, I couldn't swallow, complete numbness from my midsection down, vertigo, used walker, etc. But....it did eventually go away with IV steroids and time. I did have a strong support system from my husband and parents (and with work) at the time, and I REALLY needed their support. Since my relapse was so severe, we decided we couldn’t take that risk again and not to try for anymore children. We are focusing and enjoying our beautiful, healthy and happy miracle. And, I haven’t had any issues taking care of him any differently than other parents without my disease.

    One other note.....bottle feeding is OK! Dont let the breastfeeding crazies make you feel guilty for that choice (people acted like I was poisoning my kid or something). Using formula was great for me and helped us all split up that task (plus I got back on my meds sooner). And it was one less thing I had to put my body through, which already had enough abuse.

    Everyones MS is different so do what’s in your gut and not regret your decision. If you do choose to try, I’m certain you’ll be an amazing mom. Good luck and be well.
  • Jess Hartzog   May 3, 2019 7:24 AM
    I know it's far from the same, but maybe this is a helpful perspective: my father had MS (progressive-relapsing). He was diagnosed at 23, a few years before I was born. I remember being told about it when I was around 6 because he was no longer able to work. Over the next 25 years he maintained a positive outlook and fought his difficult battles with a keen (and sometimes dark) sense of humor. As his daughter, I never once doubted his absolute commitment and love for me. Not even a little bit, not even once. There are only two things I wish had been different: I wish I had more time with him, and I wish that he had been able to more fully enjoy events in later years. As my Dad he was perfect.
  • Meg   May 3, 2019 8:14 AM
    I was diagnosed appropriately two years before getting pregnant. I was lucky and the pregnancy basically pushed my MS into remission. It’s continued more or less stable since. It’s constantly simmering below the surface, but pregnancy and child rearing thankfully hasn’t had a detrimental impact. Besides being tired all the time, but I was before kids. The newborn months were tough, but I made it out okay. That said, having MS changed our family plans. We had wanted three kids, but having two was what I could handle. Now that I’m inching closer to 40, I wouldn’t be able to handle another. Best of luck to you on this journey!
  • Julie Wise   May 3, 2019 4:57 PM
    I have gone over all these same scenarios in my head about having kids. My husband and I have talked about it extensively and have decided not to have children. We have a few variables that led us to that decision. One is my age, I'm 38, so that has its own set of risks. Also, worried about going off of MS medication and relapsing. Worried about passing along MS, if I'd be able to keep up with a busy toddler, finances, etc.
  • Stephanie   May 3, 2019 5:29 PM
    I was diagnosed 12 yrs ago at age 23. I wanted kids since I got married 10yrs ago. We tried for 7 years to conceive but nothing. So I gave up. My cognitive abilities are worse now but I am stable after taking Lemtrada. Oh well, time to move on.
  • Krista   May 3, 2019 7:51 PM
    I had a 4 year old boy and had been trying for a second baby for 2 years when I was diagnosed at 37. A few months later I was told it was unlikely I would ever conceive again naturally. We tried for another two years (off meds) and then gave up and I started on meds. Four months later I became surprisingly pregnant with our girl at 39 and hopped back off meds.
    I felt so good during my pregnancy it was easy to forget that I had this disease. I had a natural childbirth just as I did for my first with no complications and I was able to breastfeed. My doctor told me relapse was most common at 3 months postpartum but I made it to 10 months. “Just” some tingly fingers and toes that come and go and switch around but does not effect my walking, strength or coordination. My magical daughter is a year old now and I am still nursing her, weaning in the near future and then back on meds.
    The hardest part was the sleep deprivation, not just in the newborn stage. Neither of my kids were great sleepers but I’m also not a sleep trainer. I also had some wicked postpartum depression which I didn’t experience with baby #1, I don’t know if this is because I’m more prone to depression now or what but I got help early on.
    With all the ups and downs and worries (I’m a pretty anxious person) being a mom is best thing I’ve ever done with my life...and I’ve done some pretty great stuff. Some days are hard or maybe a part of every day is a challenge but most of it is love.
    Whatever path you take in the future just remember that IT IS YOUR PATH. ❤️
  • Rose   May 3, 2019 9:08 PM
    I am pregnant with my second and I have had MS for 7 years. Having MS has changed my thinking. I was married for 1.5 years before getting pregnant and decided to do so because my medication (copaxone) wasn't working as well. I have always wanted kids and that was so important to me, so it was a no brainer when a decision had to be made. I am still taking copaxone, as it is safe for pregnancy, and will most likely stop it once I am done breastfeeding. If/when you are ready to start a family, I highly recommend you see a fertility doctor. You can do this before you even officially start trying to have kids. Getting the information ahead of time will help make all of your options clear. We conceived through IUI for both of our children and it drastically sped up the process! I didn't feel like I had 6 months to a year to "try" and start a family. Working with a fertility doctor took away my stress and worry about getting pregnant quickly. Though having kids had always been my dream, I still want to be healthy enough to take care of them, and managing that worry has been challenging. My entire experience has been a balance, and very stressful at times, but in the end what matters is trusting yourself.
  • Jillian   May 4, 2019 9:33 AM
    Both of my pregnancies were difficult. I had MS for 9 years prior to my first so consider the residual damage from many years. I found out around 4-5 weeks unexpectedly both pregnancies so had to discontinue DMDs + symptom meds + other meds immediately so spent most of the 1st trimester detoxing and also the usual morning sickness, exhaustion, etc. In the 2nd trimester for both I relapsed. The 1st pregnancy relapse was minor. 2nd pregnancy relapse was pretty horrible I went to the hospital had 3 days of steroids. Had severe numbness from my upper chest down (couldn't feel the baby), simultaneously had MS hug (or suffocation to be more realistic). The steroids helped a lot but I am still feeling residual damage 9 months later. The 3rd trimester of both pregnancies was my best. Symptoms and anxiety were at their lowest point thanks to the influx of hormones. Postpartum with my first: relapsed at 1 mo PP it was somewhat minor didn't require steroids or anything, had PPA for about a year, generalized anxiety (which I always have) following that. Postpartum with second: went on Ocrevus 2 weeks postpartum so MS stuff isn't so severe, my feet went numb again following the stress of delivery but believe it was just a pseudo relapse, PPA started acting up around 3 mo PP so starting new meds for that. A WHIRLWIND but thank goodness my support system is strong, dad is my partner in the truest sense and is a supportive caretaker with both kids. That's so critical in having kids with MS. I can't imagine doing it all on my own, I would be in bad shape. Good luck to everyone in their unique journey.
  • Tina rogers   May 4, 2019 3:19 PM
    I was diagnosed at age 21 after receiving nursing degree. Went on to have 3 beautiful children with. I problems due to ms.
  • Megan   May 6, 2019 5:35 PM
    I completely understand where you’re coming from....I’ve been there, twice! My pregnancy with my daughter, now 3.5 years old was a breeze. I breastfed her for 11 months and remained medication free (other than Solumedrol used as a precaution, as its thought to be somewhat preventative when breadfeeding) for that whole time. I then relapsed around the time I weaned my daughter. This was a pretty bad relapse, I had to take some time out of work. Luckily my sister was watching my daughter and would still come watch her and help out with daily tasks. It was hard, I won’t lie, but it was manageable and so worth it. Then when my daughter was around 16 months we decided to start trying for another baby. We had my son a month after my daughter turned 2, he is now 1.5 years old. My pregnancy with him was rough. I had a minor relapse halfway thru, then another after 2 months after his birth. Unfortunately I could only breastfeed him for 2 months because my neuro strongly advised me to go back on my medication. It’s been hard at times but I wouldn’t change it for anything. My kids keep me going on my rough days. Good luck in your decision and your journey! Whatever you decide, there is no wrong decision 😊
  • Danielle   May 6, 2019 6:12 PM
    From the moment I was engaged, not even married yet, I was hounded by that question.

    I had decided long before I was engaged that I did not want to have kids. The 40% statistic of women having an exacerbation after given birth terrified me—particularly after my last one left me completely paralyzed on one side and I had the fight of my life coming back from it.

    I was very upfront with the men I was dating that it wasn’t an option for me so this was no shock to my husband.

    But the responses from people were just so surprising...”oh you’ll change your mind” “you could adopt” “you’re missing out” etc

    It wasn’t just the comments; there was a palpable layer of judgment. Explaining I was on the fence before my MS and now after my MS it’s a solid not happening, and still “you’ll change your mind” This doesn’t make me less of a woman.

    Every time some one asks how long we’ve been married (1.5yrs) and they follow it up with the children question I simply say “I know you mean well by that question but it’s really none of your business”. I’ve had people persist further and I either change the subject or walk away.

    It’s only yours and your husband’s business I wish you luck in whatever you decide
  • Melissa Gemelli   May 6, 2019 6:53 PM
    I was diagnosed at 29 - 4 months before my wedding. Needless to say, I was devastated! My main symptoms were extreme nerve pain and spasticity. My lifelong dream of being a mom seemed hopeless. Fortunately, my neuro assured me that it was still possible - I just needed a plan to deal with possible flares while I tried to get pregnant and after, and understand that I needed to pace myself. I really struggled for the first two years with my MS - it seemed like I was getting steroid infusions every other month - but, after trying Copaxone and then Avonex, I settled into my new normal. Five months after I stopped Avonex, I found out I was pregnant with twins! My OB/GYN was also amazing - he came up with a plan to deliver the twins 4 weeks early so my body didn't go through the "trauma" of labor and a vaginal birth. I had a relatively uneventful pregnancy and, almost 4 years after my diagnosis, I gave birth to two healthy kiddos - a boy and a girl - 5 weeks early via c-section (I started to go into labor and my OB/GYN didn't want that!). Because my neuro prepared me for the inevitable post-delivery MS flare, I was ready when it hit three weeks after they were born. My twins will be 17 in August - I thank God every day for my neuro. Without her encouragement and support, I don't know if I would have had the courage to even attempt to get pregnant!

    My kiddos have never known me "before MS" so they learned very early all of the good lessons we all want our kids to learn - patience, compassion and appreciation. They ride in the Bike MS City to Shore every year - they signed up the first year they were able - and also do MuckFest every year. My daughter even setup a website to sell handmade jewelry and artwork to help in her fundraising.

    It's not always easy, but if you have a strong support system, and you learn to pace yourself (like understanding the laundry doesn't have to get folded and put away as soon as it comes out of the dryer, or just mopping your kitchen floor instead of scrubbing it on your hands and knees), and LOTS of planning, you can have children! I pray that anyone diagnosed with MS who wants children, has the same supportive relationship with their neuro.
  • Natalie   May 6, 2019 9:19 PM
    Diagnosed with MS and married in 2011, I had few symptoms after my for at relapse.

    We became pregnant for the first time in 2014 and were surprised and happy and I felt great. I called mu neurologist, stopped my meds (techfidera) and went along on this new adventure. Unfortunately, the pregnancy was ectopic (pure chance, not related to my MS) and, after a too-brief mourning period and some hormonal game changers, we decided to opt for in vitro.

    Due to our active medical pursuit, I stopped meds once again. We were fortunate to conceive after one round and proceeded with extreme caution as we counted the weeks.

    I had 1 or 2 mild flare ups during my pregnancy but, again, felt great physically.

    My son was delivered via cesarean and I had a relapse (numb hands, impaired dexterity) when I was still in the hospital. The relapse was mild enough that I carried on and decided to breastfeed. I did a few courses of solumedrol steroids ("pumping and dumping") and had decent results. About 6 months post pardum, back at work and still nursing, I had a relapse that impaired my mobility enough that I put a sudden halt to nursing (ouch) and got back on meds.

    Due to what may be a number of reasons, not the least being my MS or my sudden stop to nursing, I slid down a deep hole of post pardum depression. My PPD lead to a leave of absence (I was able to take short term disability leave due to recommendations from OB and neurologist). Not a fun time in life but I got back on Techfidera and sought out incredible support from psychiatrists and post pardum doulas. Amazing resources do exist to support mothers.

    My neurologist remained a solid guide through this difficult time and I came out on the other side thanks to such wonderful practitioners.

    I am now 20 weeks pregnant. Total surprise. I've been off my meds since I found out.

    Unfortunately, had a serious bout of optic neuritis and lost vision in such a way that I could not drive or see a computer screen.

    I was able to do plasmapheresis in an effort to address my vision in a way that would not harm my growing baby.

    The plasma exchange worked wonders. Wow. What an option. Again, stellar doctors to thank for that.

    Currently doing well. Working full time, caring for my busy 16 month old; I am fortunate to not only have incredible doctors but an incredibly supportive husband, family and friends.

    All of my docs, from primary care through my neurologist and OB team - all are aware of my history and I have developed a post pardum plan that I feel comfortable with. All of the lessons learned in my first pregnancy have served me well.

    When we welcome our new baby, I will get back on treatment while still in the hospital. And I will begin a low level course of the antidepressant that worked well for me and that helped pull me our of my PPD. As I will be back on my meds, I will not be able to breastfeed but I have realized slowly and decided that being a mom who can see and walk is the best thing for my family.

    I am thankful for my family and Healthcare team.

    It truly does take a village.
  • Angela Swanson   May 7, 2019 11:51 PM
    I have done my best to comment every time I see anything that has to do with MS and pregnancy. When I was first diagnosed with PPMS back in 2008, I was told by my doctor that it would be difficult for me to have babies and care for them after. This is all wrong. I am now pregnant with my 3rd child, symptoms disappear for the most part during and a little after pregnancy, happily married, and have 2 smart children and they are 8 and 5 years old. So never give up if having children is something you and your loved one wants. We were born strong and will always find a way to keep things going and going well if you really want.
  • Bri   May 8, 2019 2:22 PM
    My husband and I also struggled with this decision. My medication took several months to regulate and after almost three years, I still suffer from some side effects. In the end, we have chosen not to have children. This went deeper than just my MS as my husband carries genetic defects. However, prior to finding out about his genetic defects I was 100% convinced I needed to have children to complete my life. Adoption was still an option for us and to avoid my husbands genetic defects we could have done IVF. However, we both decided that something could happen instantly and we wanted to spend all our good years traveling and enjoying time with one another. After we made the decision to forego having children, we got the guilt trips from family. No matter what you decide to do, remember this is a tough decision to make and there are no wrong paths to take. Biological children, surrogacy, adoption and no children at all. These are all great options. Be happy in the decision you make because dwelling on what you don’t have, whether that’s children or the strength needed to carry your child, leaves you missing out on the wonderful things you do have.
  • Sigourney   May 13, 2019 11:00 AM
    Finding out I have MS at 22 was difficult. I had already had my first child, so I won’t sugar coat it.. (depending on the severity/symptoms) having children and managing MS is difficult. Fatigue and weakness is the hardest for me because every other symptom I can manage. Those directly effect the energy and abilities I have to take care of my child(ren). With that being said, I am expecting my second child this fall! They are a blessing to my life, in them I find purpose. That is NOT to say anyone should be expected to have children - that is a personal choice, a private topic for the only two people involved. Respect should be a given. My now fiancée was only my boyfriend at the time of having our first, and I received slight grief for not having been married first! I feel it is easy for people to cast judgement when they themselves have limiting beliefs and cannot understand much beyond their own perception. Just my thoughts! As for my MS, it did not show its ugly head until quite some time after my first. I’ve started using a cane around home when my balance or my legs are bad. Some days are worse than others, most days are just - normal to me now. I sit on my bottom with my toddler on my lap to go down the stairs and have been teaching her to do the same behind me. I (try my best to) premake healthy meals and snacks so it’s easier to assemble throughout the day. It has been solely trial and error for me. Luckily my arm strength is not majorly affected by weakness, rather spasticity, but that shouldn’t affect the way I hold my newborn. Baby wearing devices are great for that. It is hard - and with the narrow minded views of insivible illness, it’s even harder for people to understand. I feel if anything it has been a great test of character, strength, and will. The best thing is to have support - even if it’s just your spouse. Without my fiancée it would be hard to manage by myself, and that was a hard pill to swallow, but it has strengthened our love. In a nutshell, having/raising children and dealing with MS is very challenging, and very rewarding. Pregnancy is a very personal thing, each pregnancy being very different than the next. Some say pregnancy lessened their MS symptoms and others say it had little change. All I can say is - it IS worth it. All the hard work, tears, laughs, firsts, everything. That’s my opinion, and fulfillment can be found many ways in life - not just through having children. Hope this helps a little!
  • Liz   May 13, 2019 1:36 PM
    I found out I had MS at 25 and we had our baby at 28. Once I learned that MS symptoms usually go away during pregnancy, I wasn't deterred because I knew my husband and I wanted children and we wouldn't let MS stop us. All my symptoms did go away while I was pregnant, but there were definitely some MS-related set-backs -- I had a relapse when I got off my meds right at the start of my pregnancy (I was on Copaxone, which you can take right up to becoming pregnant) and another after I delivered. For my doctor, that was the sign that I needed to increase my meds, and my MS had been quiet aggressive up to that point. So since we had our baby, I decided it was time to start the bigger meds and went straight for Lemtrada.

    I did have quite a bit of anxiety about the baby's health and wellness in the first six weeks, plus I was totally exhausted with all those midnight feedings! But I wouldn't trade it for the world. Our son is the shining star in my and my husband's life. He's an absolute angel. We worked hard to keep him fed and get him lots of sleep, and the difference has shown! (If you're interested, I'd totally recommend checking out Babywise.) But I'd say that big thing is having a good support system. If you have people who will show up for you and if you can make the effort to reach out and ask for help when you need it, you'll be fine! It's hard, but it's worth it -- I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
  • Kelly   May 14, 2019 6:03 AM
    I, like you, was diagnosed early, at 23. I made a decision, after much soul searching and time, to not have children. I decided that I wanted my children to have a childhood, not be my carer. To say that I haven't questioned this many times over the years would not be true. I would have loved to have kids, always thought I would and miss not having that joy in my life. But, I don't regret my decision. I have been able to take advantage of my good years, do as much as I've been able to, and more, and don't have my children now helping me when all I would have wanted is to help them. I put my "children" as my first priority. Rightly or wrongly, that is the choice I made and I am content with it. I feel bad enough that my husband has to help me but HE made that choice. x