Inspirational or Me Just Being Female?

Updated on June 20, 2010
J.P. asks from Georgetown, TX
17 answers

I have a friend (male) who I shared this story with ( so that he would feel inspired and hopeful about his relationship with his GF possible fiance who might one day become debilitated from multiple sclerosis. Instead of finding it inspirational and hopeful all he had to say was the mother had no choice and she was stuck taking care of this person for the rest of her life (which is what he's afraid of). Am I missing something?

I found this story a couple of weeks ago when I was feeling a little down and worried about being 13 wks pregnant and having to take the genetic tests. It totally moved me and made helped me feel like no matter what the outcome it’s those with us and given to us that make this life beautiful despite possible hardships or bad things life throws our way.

At this point I have no idea what to tell him. Oh, and he has asked me for advice on his situation. He and I have been friends for more than 6 years (2 of those in a relationship) and we are all friends and get together frequently. He loves his girlfriend – I think she’s great, no make that awesome for him as she puts up with ALL his BS (and he’s got a lot – ha ha) but he’s not wanting to marry her because of her condition and apparently that’s the only thing holding him back. Ugh and to make it worst after reading this story he said that he would have the baby terminated as he couldn’t imagine it living a full life – as if he has in his 36 years, but that’s another story. I know I’m being judgmental and getting off track but really, the story of Nella is one of the most touching I’ve read and the fact that it’s true makes it even more poignant at least in my opinion. What do you guys think? Should I not share this story again (after this post =)

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the responses. This conversation has come up several times in the last year. I’ve brought up everything from “what if it were you that was debilitated” to “perhaps you should be on your way and let her find someone who can.”

Also, the reason why my friend and I are so close even today is because I am honest with him and many times we do not agree, but we still love and support each other and our decisions. No matter what he chooses that won’t change and he knows it.

To the other views posted, no I have not lived with someone with MS, however, I do believe we all have it in ourselves to rise up to any occasion and be thankful for what life has given us and to take care of our own. My belief is that life is not all about easy, convenience, beauty or control. I think we grow more from the bad than we would ever if things were always good.

Also, again, I have not had to deal with being with someone with this type of debilitating illness but I did have a close friend who married someone knowing she had breast cancer (at age 26) and knew that her chances were slim. The first year they thought she might have a chance to recover. However, by the second year she went into remission. They could not have children, they could not travel, he could not leave her side as he had to take care of her as she routinely had to go for in for kemo and most days did not have the energy to get out of bed. He took care of her for two years before she passed. I was there for him when he needed someone to talk to and it was hard and obviously I know it was much harder on him being the one intimately involved. Unlike my friend and I guess others out there, I would make a commitment to someone knowing what would happen whether it be partner or friend or family. To me that’s what love is about no matter what kind.

True, I personally have yet to be tested other than volunteering to give up a kidney for my friend’s wife but I know in my heart nothing in this life is as meaningful as the love we give, however we can, even if that means sacrifice. He taught me that. He was happy, he loved, he was heartbroken, he sacrificed for love and he never regretted one minute.

I question sometimes just how much people are willing to give these days in exchange for sacrificing comfort and convenience for those we love. For the most part it saddens me just how selfish we all have become, my friend being one. The story of Nella gave me a little hope that maybe I am wrong. I love the part where it was the child that taught the mother about unconditional love and acceptance. Soap box off.

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answers from San Antonio on

I feel sorry for him, but you know when someone tells you how they feel you really need to believe them. If he really says that he wouldn't want to care for her or a child, then believe him. It would be such a disservice to her for her to marry him then find out that he is really not in it for better or worse.

I had a girlfriend that her husband left her when she found out she had breast cancer. He actually told her "this is going to be all about you for months and years and I'm just not up to that". WOW........

Good luck,

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answers from Austin on

Wow. This post has stirred up more emotions in my then I saw coming! I don't think you're being "just female" but I do think you lack the insight that comes from experience. We all live with the moments of clarity that help us see it's all worth it and how much our difficulties give to us. I usually find these to be moments. Maybe if I ever achieve some zen mastery they will be more than just moments. For now, most of my time is spent in the muck and mire of practicality. You can never begin to understand the fear,anger,pain,loneliness, and other difficult emotions that come with having a spouse with MS (or probably any debilitating/progressive disease) until you are in it. Nor the physical toll.
My husband has been deteriorating with MS and we have 2 small children. It is awful. He is devasted and often depressed and I try to hold the house, yard, kids, shopping, meals, entertainment, home improvements,and him (physically and emotionally) together. I frequently have to drive him places, clean up his bowel movements, try to pick him up off the floor when he falls, be supportive when he cries he would rather be dead. He usually can not be left alone with the kids, and there are enough times he can not be left alone himself. I'm not the equivalent of a single mom, because there are two of us, but I am frequently his nurse also. Did I even mention the financial worries? This hasn't been for weeks or months, but years.
Yes, there is always beauty and love and lessons to be found in any life to be lived. But if someone is seriously struggling with the idea of marrying someone with something like MS that is excellent! Because there is so much to consider and so much you will never know until you are in it. I'm sure it is different when it is your child with a disease. Your friend is seeing things differently than you and he has to. Should you share the story? Why not?!? It's a good thing. Sharing is different though, then advocating.

BTW Would I do it again with a glimpse of the knowledge I currently have? I think so. But, then again I could just as easily breathe a sigh of relief and walk away.

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answers from Dallas on

as much as you want her to be the one, she's obviously not. it sounds like he's not truly in love with her so i wouldnt push it. if he were then the ms would not be an issue.

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answers from New York on

If he's hesitant about marrying this woman b/c of her condition then he shouldn't. I'm not being harsh here, but the reality is it's only going to get more difficult. Some people can handle these kinds of challenges and some just can't- sounds like he can't.

He's being honest with you, which is good but the person he needs to be honest with is his girlfriend. If she's under the impression that they are going to get married, have babies and live together forever then he needs to chat with her.

Realistically, she may find someone who loves her and is able to accept what the coming years will likely bring. Sounds like your friend isn't that person. That's okay as long as he's honest with himself and doesn't beat himself up for it. The last thing either of them would want is for their relationship to become a resentful situation where no one is happy or fulfilled.

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answers from Houston on

The story was very beautiful and very inspirational but it really is not the same as what your friend is going through. I would share it with a mom or family that needs that inspiration on a parent with a down syndrom child.
I agree with one post below that said she isn't the right GF. If she was he would not even be questioning it and be jumping through hurdles to make it work.
Just support him in his decisions. It might even run deeper than the possible outcome of being debilitated from MS.


answers from Houston on

Wow, that is a really beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing it. As for your friend, he probably just couldn't go there. As I read the story I was thinking of her journey. She lived it, cried through it, it wasn't instant. It was her story as it progressed. He is in a moment of living out his story and he doesn't know where it is going yet. He was probably overwhelmed with the emotion of the story and just had to blow you off bc he isn't ready to face it all yet. And yes, we women are emotional beings. I am sure if her husband had a blog, it would be beautiful and gut wrenching, but different. We would read about how he needed to be a rock for his wife and that watching her in pain was pulling his heart out. As far as him saying he would have terminated the pregnancy, that may be true, but it may be a way of him saying something so shocking to you so you don't try and make him go there again. Just try to be there for him in the most non-judgmental way you can and let him lead when it comes to sharing and be a friend. When he asks for advice, try to give it in a way that validates the way you can tell he is already feeling and then gently leads to new possibilities maybe he hasn't thought of. It sounds like a tough situation and he is having to sort it all out, which is always messy, for anyone, let alone a man!!lol;) Best wishes, and thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed the blog, it was so beautiful. -J.



answers from San Antonio on

Love is not selfish. If its not MS, it could be something else like a debilitating car accident, house fire that someone gets caught in, war time. It so hard to figure out what the Lord has in store for us and you never know, it could be you that's the one needing the help. I think he needs to open his eyes to the broader picture and that's that he loves her. True Love has no stipulations. Just remind him that the tables could be turned one day and not in his favor. Then what will he do? We all have sacrifice in Love.



answers from Houston on

Thank you for sharing...that was so amazing and I was inspired by it...I can certainly baby (now almost 4) encountered some problems during delivery and mos after he was born...Now, he is doing great! In her case, she tells of an amazing journey...I cried all the way through this but certainly found it not only pertains to your firend, guys often see things in only black and white..they dont show emothions or wear them on their sleeve in most cases, but know that he is hurting..he just dealing in his own way..continue to be patient with him and a friend to him.



answers from Los Angeles on

Multiple sclerosis is awful. My husband's mother just died from it (she had the more rapid and rare debilitating form - primary progressive) and his father was just diagnosed a year ago with MS - the less aggressive form. There have been some medical advances lately -so that is helpful and gives hope, but taking on a lifetime commitment to care for someone with such a debilitating disease should give anyone pause. Of course you love that person but in reality it absolutely changes your life to have to care for them day in and day out - the relationship would not be what most people picture when going into marriage. I am terrified that my husband could get it as he has 2 parents with it and his mother was basically a vegetable for 15 years prior to her death. If he does get it I know I would get through it and love him and need a lot of prayer but I have no illusions about the stress that this would bring. You basically watch someone you love slowly lose function of their body and mind. Its awful.
To address your question I thought the story was wonderful and touching and uplifting and I am bookmarking it in brain to read again if I end up in a similar situation- but I'm preggo and female too. :)



answers from Victoria on

I read the story. It was freakishly long. I almost didnt read the entire thing. But I am glad I did. You may definatly share this story again. As for your friend. He is in for a long hard road if he thinks everyone will be healthy till the day they die. His wife ( whom ever that may be ) might have an accident, might get very sick, might this or that. He might this or that. If he dosent want to marry her because one day she might need to be taken care of than that man should not marry at all. As for the girl in the situation if your close friends you might want to talk to her or ask her in the nicest way possible why she would give the best years to him? Perhaps she just wants to have fun and get the most out of life while she can, knowing that he wont be there for the dirty work. I personaly am dissapointed for him because he has no idea what people have to offer.



answers from Houston on

The story is going to be interpreted differently by different people, you can't help that.

As far as your friend, I would just tell him that he has to decide for himself what he wants. The truth of the matter is, I think if he was truly, deeply in love with her her diagnosis wouldn't matter and he would still know that he wanted to marry her and spend the rest of his life with her. I have a feeling he has more doubts about their future then just her illness. If he doesn't want to marry her, he shouldn't be made to feel like a jerk because he ends it. Just as it might be wrong for him to break up with her just because she is sick, it would be just as wrong for him to marry her just because she is sick. She deserves someone that loves her unconditionally and will support her through the good and the bad and it doesn't sound like he is ready for that now.

Good luck,



answers from Austin on

I personally have no illusions about what life would be like with a disabled person. My mother has MS and has for most of my life. And I have watched my father stay by her side, make accommodations, and love and support her just the same. In my eyes, my father is what a real man should be.

I have also had to think about this from the girlfriend's perspective. My mom is the third generation in her family to have an autoimmune disorder, meaning I have a very real chance of developing one of my own at some point. I'm now close to the age she was when she was diagnosed. It makes you think a little more carefully about your life and who you want in it.

I hate to say this, but your friend sounds like a very selfish person. If he's having issues about possibly not getting to live his own "full life", and would be willing to abort a baby or not marry his girlfriend for his own comfort, then he's not the guy for her. She should move on.

Oh, and that story was beautiful. By all means, don't stop sharing it.



answers from Houston on

Yes, he is being honest, at least with you, about how he truly feels. I don't think he truly has the enduring love for her that would make a marriage work. Not one that says in sickness & in health. I would think he would want to spend as much time together enjoying a life together, especially knowing what MIGHT come in the future. The fact that is a might and he does not want to take that chance, says alot about how he feels about hertheir relationship. She is not the one he wants to face lifes trials with. Does SHE know this?
BTW, if & when he does find somebody he wishes to do thick & thin with, then when he finds out he is going to be a father, he may very well view this story different. And it is a Beautiful, and oh so true story.



answers from Houston on

To me the answer is he obviously didn't read the whole thing. He probably only read part of it and had already made up his mind about how he felt and didn't bother to read the whole story. He's not in a place to be that selfless, and it even sounds like he was a bit defensive about the whole thing which makes me think he's probably scared of the possibility that someone else will need to solely rely on him and only him. If he truly loves his girlfriend maybe over time he will mature enough to accept that fact and decide he doesn't mind being there for her, but he may never grow up. Unfortunately we can't make decisions for those we love, we can only offer an ear, some advice and then sit back and watch. If they fall on their face we can only be there to help them up and try very hard not to say "I told you so" even though it's really hard!

I think this story is a beautiful story and would probably be very helpful for any mom that is facing the possibility of having a baby with Downs Syndrome. I have an uncle that is developmentally disabled (not downs though) and growing up with him was great. Personally I believe the people with Downs and other developmental issues are very special and we can learn a lot from them.

Just my 2 cents!

R. :0)



answers from Houston on

I understand your concern. If he is not interested in marrying her, he should not be dating her. Otherwise, where is the relationship going? Will he eventually find someone else or will he wait until he is no longer attracted to her?

Anything could happen to us. I had a friend with MS. She got much better and told me the dr said she could go off her meds soon as they wait two years with no symptoms until they take you off meds. She had a new baby and things were going well for her. Well, soon afterward she was diagnosed with cancer all over her body and she died within a few months!

You could marry someone very healthy and get into a car accident and that person be in a wheel chair the rest of their lives. No, he's not married to her and this is different but if he's not willing to make that kind of sacrifice he needs to end this relationship right now!

My husband was diagnosed with colon cancer last year and if I had known this prior to our marriage it might have given me pause before making a commitment. But as I said, anything can happen....

I also have four girls with special needs and no, I wouldn't have aborted them if I had known.



answers from Austin on

Well, I haven't read the story but I will tell you this. Most men (90%) do not have the same empathy for others that we as women do. That's why there is war. I think that women are able to put ourselves in another person's shoes very easily and we can imagine ourselves in same said scenarios. Men are different than we are. With that said, you share the story and how it impacted you with anyone you want. Do not let the opinion of one stop you. I will read the story later when I have time. As far as his not marrying his awesome girlfriend just because she has a disease is very telling about his personality. Either he really doesn't love her or he is really, really stuck on himself. How sad for her....That really makes me sad. Good luck to you.



answers from Albuquerque on

I think the fact that your friend is being so honest with you and himself is very comendable. Facing the possibility of somebody being 100% dependant on you is scary and worth weighing. Not everyone is up to the challenge. Him stepping back and really taking in the situation shows how much he loves this girl.God forbid he married her knowing he wasn't sure he could handle the future and ended up leaving her.

I think you sharing the story of Nella was a nice gesture. Now let him and her take it from here. You are there to support them no matter the outcome because you are a good friend.

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