One year ago, I was a twenty-seven-year-old pregnant newlywed working as a Visual Design for a SaaS company where I’d been working for close to two years. I had a three-year-old daughter who was just starting at a new school near my husbands house (which was almost done being renovated) where I looked forward to being able to walk her to school with the new baby the following Spring. My husband had been contracting at a large well known local company doing very well.
Then I think it was either in September or October ... all our contractors at the company I worked for got cut. It was a surprise to most of us, we had a lot of longtime fabulous contractors at the time. Soon after was the first layoff, this one was a shocker—we lost about thirty people, and in a company with less than 200 employees, this was a big hit.
My belly started to show soon after this, and when my husband’s contracts dried up, my job became ever more important. I was the one providing health insurance to the family and still bringing in a paycheck. My husband started working with an MLM, and I became curious about that too. I started one as well around the beginning of 2009, though barely doing it at all because I was very pregnant and work was wearing me out, as was the commute taking my daughter across town to daycare, renovations were put on hold and so we were still living out of my apartment from before our wedding.
Next was a layoff of two corporate employees from my company, two that were considered the best by many and so this was VERY disconcerting. It was not a huge surprise when on February 27th, about a month before my due date, that along with about thirty other employees, I was handed my papers and asked to leave.
Fortunately, this is about the time the COBRA package was reduced (thank you Obama!) this meant I was able to afford to keep our insurance which is/was about $375 per month.
A month and a half later, I had my baby girl who we named Hazel. I had her at home along with my husband, mother, mother in law, daughter, two midwives and a wonderful doula. It was an amazing experience.
In the meantime, my husband has been working on putting together a company, which I should be able to announce soon in another post.
I had been trying to find work, though I do have a baby with me, as I cannot afford to put her in daycare without a job. This definitely hinders the job search. Then June was passing … and I started losing feeling and strength in my right leg and arm.
My MS was flaring up. Yes, I am a mother with MS. I started all of the appointments at this point, to the Neuro, the MRI place, the physical therapy, psychology appointments, the steroid treatments via IV in the hospital for five days, the support group meetings and so on. Soon the talks about what drugs I should be getting on soon, if I should keep nursing etc. were piling up. Also through the NMSS and another group I’m a part of for young people with MS I was approached to help start a local Moms with MS group.
I had already been “organizing,” though not very actively, another local moms group, unrelated to MS so I jumped at this opportunity!
While setting up the local one through meetup.com I managed to discover that … OMG … MomsWithMS.com was NOT registered!
Skip ahead to today. I am now the founder of the MomsWithMS.com website that currently is a community for Mothers who have been diagnosed with MS to come and share their stories, support each other, and compare notes about the joys and sorrows we experience on our mothering with MS journey. We currently have 99 members and I’m expecting we’ll probably get our hundredth member very soon.
We’ll be out of the apartment and into the house by October 1, just need the plumbing, packing, and moving done. Baby Hazel will be five months old tomorrow and is a big, smart, beautiful baby who just started saying “Mama.” (She’s on me as I type this.)
I’m taking all these “hard times” as a blessing—yes, I’m still broke as heck but working on figuring out how to change that while also growing this community of moms who like myself find great comfort in knowing there are others out there who are going through the same thing and thriving.
If you know any Moms with MS who might be looking for a place they can talk to people who understand, or has questions about anything they have heard. Let them know we exist. Many of our moms are newly diagnosed and are already finding us through google search when looking for information for mothers about MS.
We launched on July 1, 2009. My next milestone is making a public portion of the site where anyone can come and get information about MS and how it relates to families as well as finding resources, though they can be hard to find, they are out there.