Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Hugs, kisses and empathy

A while back, just after I had Charlotte, I was interviewed for parenting website Parentdish. It's a wonderfully informative site and I was delighted to be asked to talk about my decision to have children following my diagnosis.
I think the only way to educate people about MS is to talk about it. It's what I do here and it's something I don't hide from many people. If anything, I'm probably too open, but that's just my nature.
One of the comments on that post was from someone who obviously has no idea what having MS entails because she wrote that I was insensitive and selfish to have children when I knew that I had MS.
At the time I was incensed, disgusted and annoyed that someone who didn't know me, or anything about MS, would cast such a judgement.
After all, there are plenty of parents out there that face illness and much more, after giving birth to their offspring.
For us, it was never really an issue. Both Joe and I have always wanted to be parents and we took the attitude that MS is NOT the worst thing that could happen to me.
More than that, I personally feel that my children will grow up with a more rounded view of the world. They will see that not everything in life is easy.
And I can already see in Charlotte, who just turned two in November, a sense of empathy, caring and love that can only come from having a 'sick' mummy.
Last week my heart nearly melted when I said I was going to bed for a quick lie down (my legs have been playing up and rest, however small, helps) and she was straight over giving me a hug, saying 'Aww, mummy's not feeling well. I kiss it better mummy'.
I was quick to say I wasn't really sick, just a bit tired, because of course I have that maternal instinct where I want to protect her from the harsh realities of what MS means, but I am also incredibly proud of the fact she is so sympathetic.
She's a hugs kind of girl, who squeezes so tight sometimes I can hardly breathe. And I think that's what matters. She knows love. I must kiss her wee cheeks about thirty times a day.
And when I am well, we bake buns until we can eat no more, we dance around the kitchen like eejits, we play in the garden even when it's cold.
I make sure that she sees that life can be good, and it's the little things that count.
That, for me, is enough.
I am proud to be a mum with Multiple Sclerosis and until you live a day in my life, or walk a mile in my shoes, don't judge me or question my choices.

Photo courtesy of


  1. Well....I know you and love you and your wee family very much and I didn't know anyone had left a comment like that. They don't know you, they don't see how positively you roll with the ebbs and flows of what MS delivers to you.

    People are entitled to their opinion, you would be the first to say this; but that kind of comment does indeed sound judgemental and harsh and screams of a lack of awareness and understanding.

    That said, this oul blogging is a great way of allowing others a wee glimpse into your life in all it's seasons and I would suggest it supports and encourages others either dealing with MS directly or caring for someone who has been diagnosed.

    Thanks again Catherine for taking the time and roll on baby No: 2, we're all waiting!!

    Much love as always,


  2. I am now in my 60s, having come down with MS in university, and I paid attention to those who discouraged me. That was the thinking then, and I also did not have a great support team so I paid attention. I wish now I had made the decision you have made. So feel supported in your decision. I know you are already thankful.

  3. I have MS and three kids: NAdia (6), Hana (2) and Nikola (9 months), and they are loved and happy, so people who post such comments should be aware that this can happen to everyone

  4. you only get one shot at life live it to the full dont let nobody put you off i have a 7yr old and am now 25 diagnosed 5years ago i can feel my body changing but it really upsets me when people say im just right not to have anymore kids i think thats up to me and my husband many children are brought into this world with alcoholics and drug addicts as parents surely thats wrong not a loving mother and father regardless of health issues karla x

  5. The uneducated are sometimes very quick to throw their own opinions around, especially when they know nothing about MS. Oh well...

    Thank you for your lovely posts! Kim

  6. I have 4 kids aged 17,15,10 & 5 and was diagnosed in 2010 I'm now a single mum but with my family support I can do it all just like you said I play hard when I'm well and sleep and rest when I'm not I had my kids not knowing that I had ms but I am everything they have and my invisible illness will not stop me from being the best I can x

  7. ...thank you, thank you, I really needed to read this today after a PTA meeting where the headteacher said we could not have a wear what you like for MS Societys 60th anniversary as "it might scare the children"! I am in the process of writing a letter to point out the narrow minded and contradictory decision, as the school already support Comic Relief and Children In Need who address extreme poverty, illness, disease, death and in the middle of that they raise awareness and support for many communities’.

  8. Thank you all for your lovely comments ... great to hear I'm not on my own in my views and decisions. I think it helps to have these discussions so people can get a better idea of what MS is all about, and the more we talk openly about it then the better educated everyone can be.

  9. Well now you have me in tears, im 28 and have ms and an 18 month old i found your blog just now because i am in search for answers, i couldnt live my life not having another child i never knew life could be so amazing until my son ashley came into this world. The doctor said i could end up in a wheel chair or maybe not but we just dont know..... my ms got very sever after i had my son so we fear doing it again could make it even worse.