Rose petal confetti — made from the roses my dad had given me a few days before — rained down as the people I cared about most in the world cheered.
“Congratulations!” came from all around as family and friends pulled me in for a hug. My legs, weak in the hot sun, were balancing tentatively on red, sparkly heels. “Cheers!” my aunts cried, raising glasses of prosecco in their brightly colored ’50s dresses, having a ball.
This was certainly a day to remember.
I felt so proud standing next to my new husband — until the inevitable questions started coming.
“So, when are you having kids?!” chanted an excited chorus of aunts and uncles.
That is the next expected, logical step, right? A family? The thing is, I have multiple sclerosis (MS). At the time I got married, I’d had my diagnosis for just over three years. I hadn’t come to terms with it yet; these things take time.
“Ah, you know, soon. I want to get my business up and running first!” I’d reply.
The truth is, I didn’t know if I could even have kids. You don’t, do you? Until you try?
That’s when the “what ifs” and doubts started.
“What if I couldn’t have kids?”
“What if I don’t have the energy to keep up with them?”
“What if I drop them with my weak arms?”
“What if they get MS, too?”
“What if I’m not a good mum?”
What if? What if? What if?
It is the one thing no one talks about, and it needs to be said.
People assume everyone can have kids, and it has to stop.
Now, it’s important to say that you can still have kids if you have MS. I spoke with radio producer Becky Huxtable on “The DISabled to ENabled Podcast“ a long while ago about what it’s like to be a mum with MS. She got on well with it.
There can be issues surrounding treatments. Often you need to come off a lot of medications before trying for a baby. There is not enough evidence yet as to which disease-modifying treatments are safe to continue during pregnancy. Some people may decide not to have children at all because they don’t feel they can stop taking their medications.
MS is just one illness; there are thousands of chronic diseases out there. I recently learned about a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome. People with this condition are often diagnosed in their teens or 20s, which sometimes makes it harder to have children.
What if I had been pregnant, lost the baby, and not told anyone?
Imagine being told in your 20s or 30s that you can never carry children because of medical reasons, then having people ask you on your wedding day when you’re having kids. It’s enough to ruin your “special day.”
The bottom line is that you never know what someone is going through. This is a polite reminder never to make assumptions that could hurt someone’s feelings.
And if you have MS, you can get pregnant.
Have you had kids with your chronic illness?
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.
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