This Mother’s Day Leave The Guilt Behind

Written By: Anna Giannakouros

In the beginning of my disability journey the aspect that caused me the most shame was coming to terms with not having physically surpassed my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis (MS) and that I was actually disabled and not able to walk anymore without a mobility aid. Of course, it is unreasonable to feel shame over something like that because it was out of my conscious control and God knows I tried my best to better myself, and yet that is how I felt.

Being a mom of three was challenging enough and adding the prognosis to the situation made it unfair and even more difficult. In my eyes, it took away from a lot of the experiences I enjoyed as a mom.

When my kids were in grade school I often experienced moments of insecurity, feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, guilty or angry because I felt I should be doing more as a mom and was having a very hard time keeping up with everything. Worse than that were the times where physical limitations prevented me from even attending school events or outings because I was disabled and accessibility was simply impossible. I felt like I was robbed from being the type of mom and person I wanted to be for my kids.

Adapt to the situation

I don’t feel guilty or frustrated anymore; I’ve learned to allow myself compromise and look at things from a different perspective.

We have an idea in our minds of what the best way to be is as a mom and many times the pressure we put on ourselves is unfair and unrealistic. I was suffering because I was comparing myself to previous versions of myself that were more physically able or other moms out there who didn’t have an illness and were participating more in their children’s events.

The more time we spend in guilt or frustration resisting what is the more we cut ourselves off from our source of power.  As I began to accept my situation and not dwell on what was out of my control, my reality shifted and new solutions and experiences presented themselves.

The Present Moment

It all begins from within. Truly love and accept yourself and once you genuinely feel that, you’re able to give the same to others including your kids. That is the best thing you can do for your kids.

Don’t let thoughts about your physical abilities have you believe that you are less than as a mother in any way. What our kids need from us more than anything is understanding and unconditional love and support.  Just by being their mom we can be a source of that for them and disability has nothing to do with that.

Over the years I’ve realized that more than what activities I’m able perform with my children, or take my children to, what is important is to truly connect on a human level and truly see them, be present with them and feel that love connection with them in the simplest of moments. That can happen during activities or even a lazy afternoon at home. The connection is what matters more than anything else you can do together. The more you nurture your children in that place of connection, the more they feel secure and thrive in their life even when your presence may not be there.

When you look for opportunities, you find them. At home, I focus on activities I can easily do with my children like puzzles, games, watching movies together, going for drives, etc.. . The best thing we can give our kids is presence. Just be with them and listen to what they have to say. In fact, that is what everybody needs.


When you are in the feeling of gratitude your heart is full. I’m grateful to be alive and in my children’s presence.  That alone is something we take for granted.

I’m grateful for the ability I have to create my life experience. What we make of our lives is up to us. We can make the worst of something or the best of something. The power lies with us.

I celebrate and appreciate what I am still able to accomplish in the day given the energy that I have and what is possible.

I am grateful for all the memories of when my kid’s were younger. Though I wasn’t able to attend and participate in all the school activities and outings I would have liked to, I appreciate the ones I was able to attend like all of my children’s shows for example. That is enough for me and those memories will last a lifetime.

I’m also very grateful to the systems in place that allowed my children to experience those activities, with or without me there. For example, I may not have been one of the mothers distributing frozen yogurt at the school every Friday but I am very appreciative to the volunteer moms that were there and did, for my child.  This is an example of how we can look past ourselves and see things from a different perspective.

How Disability Changed Me

Having MS forced me to slow down, physically and mentally. I’ve learned to truly be in the moment and appreciate what is really important in life which is not circumstances and surroundings, it is life itself and loving and connecting with my kids and the people around me.

Being disabled lead me to a path to truly love and accept myself in ways I never did before. Ironically, I’m more disabled now than I have ever been, but also the most confident, empowered, and comfortable in my own skin. It shattered the image I had of myself and forced me to look within for self-love. It has allowed me to be a role model for my kids in ways I couldn’t imagine.

There was a time when I was frightened of being in a wheelchair, which I am in now. I thought being in a wheelchair would be the end of my life. In reality, I’m so grateful and appreciative for the mobility aids and the adaptation I’ve done to my home and vehicles that allow me independence and freedom to be the best mom I can be for my kids.

What I have learned is that fear is simply thoughts that come our way and we can choose to believe them or not. I try not to pollute the present moment with fear thoughts of the future because it serves no good purpose for me. We don’t know what the future holds but I have faith that my family and I will be OK no matter what the future holds.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Being a parent is so incredibly rewarding to me because of the love, bond and connection I share with these beings every day. No matter what my situation is I am blessed because we are witnessing each other’s lives through experiences,  joy and laughter together.  Connecting and being with them is unconditional love and there is no better feeling than that in the world. We all have access to that within us if we just take a moment and feel it.

This Mother’s Day take a moment to celebrate you and all that you are,  have accomplished and overcome. Celebrate and love yourself. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

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