Alex Blossom was diagnosed with MS after giving birth to her first child. Now expecting baby number two, she explains how having MS and following the OMS Recovery Program has changed her approach to pregnancy…
In 2012 I had my gorgeous son Noah. A few months later I was driving to a baby group when I realized that I couldn’t really see out of my right eye. After false hope of simply having dry eyes, I was eventually diagnosed with MS. I had lots of lesions on both my brain and my spine. I was devastated and cried a lot over the next few weeks.
I had a new baby and all I wanted to do was enjoy my time with him. In reality, all I was doing was worrying about how I was going to let him, and all of my family, down. I worried about being in a wheelchair, about losing my vision in my other eye, about when I would die and who would look after Noah. I felt physically sick with worry.
And then I found Overcoming MS.
OMS changed everything for me. It got my life back in balance. It put me back in control.
So six years later I am reliving the pregnancy experience but this time with OMS. This time I am treasuring every moment. I have embraced the whole experience so much more. Rather than worrying about the risk of relapse when I give birth, I am prioritizing my well being right now.
There have been some big changes in my approach to life and to pregnancy…
During my first pregnancy I drank so much milk! Yes, full fat cows milk. I couldn’t stop. I put it down to a craving for calcium. I would buy a pint when I filled up with petrol and drink it on the way home. I’d order a large, hot milk in coffee shops. I’d make full fat milkshakes at home. I could not get enough! Now I know that cows milk is no friend of mine. This time almond milk has been my thing! Even more delicious and nutritious and often even available in coffee shops! And as for the calcium, my levels are great – I suspect because of all the dark green vegetables I eat.
When I was pregnant the first time I never rested unless I was asleep. I was a manic runner! A weekend was not complete unless I had run 20 miles! I ran the Melbourne marathon in Australia at 16 weeks pregnant and many many more long runs until my grand finale… the Loughborough half marathon at 41 weeks pregnant. Once Noah was born I didn’t slow down – I jumped straight back into exercise. Mad. So many people tried to tell me that I was overdoing it but I would not listen. This time I have taken heed of the OMS message. Looking after my health comes first. So I walk the dog plenty, I swim and I do a lot of yoga but no marathons this time! And no more physically exhausting myself.
Last time I was pregnant, I rarely stopped to rest or even just to be aware of how I was feeling. I worked full time until a week before my due date and I was busy and stressed with work and life in general. Now things are so different. I work from home which is much calmer and less harrowing. I meditate at least once a day and I often take time to recognize how I feel. I am much more mindful. Being in touch with how I feel is the way I know I am feeling good. It gives me the confidence to know I am well and that my body is coping with the challenge of growing another baby. This means less worry and more peace of mind.
Last time I used to read the nutritional advice for pregnancy and think my diet wasn’t too bad. I took vitamin supplements to reassure myself. Now I look at the advice and know I should get to marks through food alone – my diet is amazing! Oily fish and lots of fruit and vegetables are absolutely recommended in pregnancy and give the body everything it needs. I am sure that the OMS diet is the very best thing I could be doing for me and the baby.
So if you have MS and are thinking about getting pregnant then I could not recommend the OMS way of life more highly. Making sure you talk to your neurologist about the right time is crucial. I waited until my MRI scans had stabilized and I’d had a couple of clear scans with no new new disease activity.
Alex works as a lawyer doing night shifts but also teaches relaxation and brain training in all sorts of settings. She has a mindfulness diploma from Smart Foundation and is a member of CTHA. She is a coach for individuals and groups within schools and businesses.
Alex also recently facilitated a mindfulness session at the AMEX 2017: 7 Steps to Overcoming MS Event.