Medically Reviewed by Jacque Parker, RN
When was the last time you were proud of your body? Or the last time you felt sexy? If it was recently, I applaud you. Most of us however may be shaking our heads and laughing.
Multiple Sclerosis can ravage a woman's sense of identity. Women with MS battling with fatigue, loss of sensation, and mobility problems, often find themselves loosing their sense of femininity. Weight gain caused by lack of mobility and fatigue can make this situation even worse.
Many of us have the idea that people with disabilities are not attractive. Walking with a cane or being in a wheelchair can not only wreck havoc on your pride but on your sense of feminine grace. Being sucked under by fatigue and loss of sensation, can make you feel less than sexy. Add bladder problems and spasticity on top of that and you're your likely to feel horribly unattractive!
Watching TV and glancing through magazines, this idea of disability being unattractive is confirmed by the lack of disabled women represented. When is the last time you saw a model in a wheelchair? Or a movie where the leading lady had speech problems and was numb on her left side?
Having Multiple Sclerosis does not mean you have to lose yourself. There is a beautiful woman in there who is dying to get out. Here are a few tips and reminders for reviving your self esteem and sense of femininity.
Get Rid Of The Media
If magazines make you upset and remind you of all those things you can't do, throw them away. If TV shows you watch are bringing you down, quit watching them. There is no sense in dragging yourself through the mud every time you see a Nike ad.
Remember Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
If you see yourself as ugly then you will feel ugly. Embrace the beauty that is inside yourself! Notice what beautiful eyes you have or how graceful your hands are. Focus on your pluses instead of your minuses.
Buy items that make you feel spoiled and feminine. For me it is this wonderful peppermint scented soap and a soft chenille blanket in deep blue. I soak in the lukewarm tub with my soap and then wrap myself in the blanket while I eat chocolates and read trashy romance novels. This small amount of pampering helps me get back in touch with myself. Pamper yourself! It can be anything from perfume, clothing, chick-flicks, a wonderful massage, or a dinner at a great restaurant.
Read Uplifting Books
Put down your "MS Handbook" and grab something like "Succulent Wild Woman" by Sark or her fantastic book "How to Change your Life Without Getting Out of Bed". It's a playful book about guilt free napping. Try a Chicken Soup book! Find a book that reminds you what a special person you are and to stop wracking yourself with guilt and pain. Other books are "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and "SoulWork" by Betty Clare Moffatt. For mothers I suggest "Operating Instructions" by Anne Lamott.
Enjoy A Spa Night
Set some candles around your tub , fill it up with bubbles , play some soothing music, grab your book and slip in! If lukewarm baths are not your thing (since hot water can make your symptoms flare), try a cozy relaxation in your room. Surround yourself with food you love, dress in an outfit that makes you feel sexy and just enjoy the time to celebrate being a woman.
Spend Time With Your Partner
Oftentimes Multiple Sclerosis puts a strain on your relationships. Most likely your partner or spouse would love to glimpse the happy carefree woman you once were and would do almost anything to see her again. Take a country drive together, go to an ice cream parlor, or walk barefoot in your backyard at night. Meet them for a rendezvous at a hotel or a meal at a romantic restaurant. Put on that silly lingerie thing. You might feel silly, you might think you have changed too much, but you are the woman your partner fell in love with.
These are just a few ideas to help regain a bit of your feminine self and to help you feel beautiful again. It may take time as many of us have been dealing with MS for years and have started to feel asexual, but it will come back. Remember: Multiple Sclerosis may have changed your life and your body but it can never touch your soul.
Lorna Moorhead was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1999.