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5 Things to Say to the Mom With Multiple Sclerosis When You Don’t Know What to Say

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Although I may be unintentionally labeled “the one with multiple sclerosis,” I’m really just a mom who happens to have lesions on my brain and spinal cord. I know through my own experiences, discussions can be awkward, and sometimes it feels easier to say nothing instead of the wrong thing.

Here are my suggestions for some easy words to say to the woman who has multiple sclerosis, lupus, cancer, or one of the many other illnesses that plague otherwise healthy individuals.

1. Hello! How are you? 

Eye contact is important here.

2. How do you feel today? 

Be prepared for a standard, “I’m fine” response.

3. I am going grocery shopping today; can I pick you up anything?

Going to large and loud stores can be exhausting. Grabbing something for dinner, milk for coffee or toilet paper can be very helpful.

4. Can I pick up your child from school or bring them to my home for a few hours?

Yes, good for the kids, good for Mom.

5. If you are up to it, would you like to meet for coffee/lunch/wine? 

There will be times I will have to cancel, but I really enjoy the days when it works out and we can talk.

If you feel tongue-tied, hugs are also appreciated and loved.

Just remember we are people living life with a little less energy, more pain and stress. Illnesses cause isolation, and to know there are others nearby who care and want to help means so much.

Mom sitting in hospital bed with two kids

Are there certain words you like to hear? Please share; it will be helpful to others.

Originally published: February 18, 2016
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