How do I tell my children about my diagnosis?

In this video Marlo interviews Polly who is a Expert MSer. The interview was filmed by Katharine

Video transcript

Marlo from the MS community: How do I tell my children about my diagnosis?</s

Polly, an Expert MSer: I think primarily it needs to be not a big scary thing for them, not something where you sit them down and it’s, you know, mum and dad have something to tell you, serious. I think with MS, just the way you live with it every day, it should be in that sort of style that your children kind of find out about it, you know, when they get older and you are thinking about having to tell them, like it’s part of life, it’s not why did mum drop that or why can’t mum feel that very well.

Well, it’s because I’ve got, call it an illness, I probably wouldn’t do that, I’ve got something that affects how I might do this, how I might do that, but generally day to day I can do most of those things and some days it might be worse, some days it might be better. And yeah, I don’t know if there’s a foolproof way to kind of saying it and if they see you having a relapse it’ll probably be a little bit more intense for them, but I think just reassuring them that actually, even though it’s chronic that doesn’t mean the same thing as terminal, and that’s quite important to know, that it’s something you can and do live with and they see you doing lots of other things outside of worrying about MS.

Marlo: That’s a good point.  Do you think there’s like a turning age that you would tell a child something in a different way?

Polly: I think you probably know your children best and for instance, like my daughter, she’ll probably be a bit younger when I kind of explain certain things to her and she’ll pick up on certain things more quickly than my son probably will, because he’s a bumbly little guy.
And I think they’ll naturally become more interested as they sort of get to be more adolescent. I think when they’re seven, eight, you know, children become naturally more aware of other people around them, they become to empathise more, you know, children start getting embarrassed past like five and it’s kind of like, before that they’re very much the centre of their world. So no, I don’t know if there’s a definite age, but I guess you just tell a little more as you feel they’re able to sort of understand it, yes.

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