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  • Writer's pictureGina M. Oakley

Shoutout to Support

This weekend is a celebration of the many kinds of mothers and motherly figures out there, but on this eve of Mother's Day and now more than ever with me being a brand new mom (barely 2 weeks in), I send a massive shoutout to all the support people out there!

My whole life I've had wonderful family support. My mom has been especially key in my life as the person who pushes me to thrive and is right there cheering me on and holding my hand when I need it most. I have phenomenal family and friends who lifted me through my battle with my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis almost eight years ago. I even have to extend a thank you to strangers who have supported my ventures in writing and through the scary medical moments. Today, however, I want to focus on a very specific type of support.

On April 21 I became a mom, something I never thought would happen for me. Leading up to that day, my husband was the best partner in pregnancy. He helped me through the scary moments and celebrated the happy ones with me. Near the end of the pregnancy, things got tough with COVID, Shingles, and a horrible pregnancy rash. We delivered two weeks early for the safety of me and our little one, and the days following were, to be honest, miserable for me as I battled immense pain with a rash covering my entire body and continued nerve pain from shingles. On top of all that, once the placenta detaches, multiple sclerosis relapses are high risk. Jonathan has been by my side through the entire thing. He encourages me to rest, takes care of me while taking care of our newborn (and our needy cat), and continues to cheer me on and lift me up. I very literally could not have done any of these moments without him.

So, I would like to graciously remind everyone out there of some important things to consider for your amazing support people.

  • Give Grace: Your support person is taking on so much, and they too are only human. Remember, it is okay for them to get frustrated, feel exhausted, lose their positivity at times, and all those other natural human emotions and reactions. You can't expect them to be happy and energetic all the time. Show them grace and give support back to them when you can.

  • Show & Tell Gratitude: Actions are proof and words have power to lift spirits, so be sure to show your support person you are so thankful for them. Be sure to also express to them sincerely your gratitude for all they do for you. This is very important communication you should share with your person.

  • Do what you can: It's easy to fall into habit and allow your support to continue doing many things for you even when you have moments you are capable of doing them. Don't forget to step in and try to do what you can, not only for yourself but to give your person a break.

  • Stop Apologizing: I learned this from my husband. Stop apologizing to your person for all they do. They love you and don't want to see you down. They wouldn't be there for you if they didn't want to, and they know you would do the same for them. Release your guilt, and stop apologizing for your situation (which is one you can't control anyway).

Thank you to all the people out there who have selflessly given their time and energy to support loved ones. You are a hero who is so appreciated. Thank you to Jonathan, my husband, for all he has done for me in life but especially in the last few months. My recovery and my battle to prevent any MS relapses in these most vulnerable weeks would have been unbearable without you.

Who is your support? What have they done for you, and how has it changed your life or saved you?

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