Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
Resources
About MyMSTeam
Powered By
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
NEWS

Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler on Parenting With MS: ‘Being a Mom and Loving Your Kids Is More Than Enough’

Posted on February 22, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Evelyn O. Berman, M.D.
Article written by
Torrey Kim
(Shutterstock)

Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler was 20 years old and playing the role of Meadow Soprano on the HBO show “The Sopranos” when she first found out she had multiple sclerosis (MS). Although she initially kept her diagnosis a secret for 15 years, she later chose to go public about it. One reason for disclosing the diagnosis: She had become a mom.

Sigler shared her thoughts about parenting with MS during a “Me Becoming Mom” podcast, discussing a range of topics surrounding life with MS and how the condition has affected pregnancy and motherhood.

Feeling ‘Normal’ During Pregnancy

When Sigler was initially diagnosed with MS, her doctor reassured her that people with the condition can typically get pregnant, deliver, and breastfeed if they decide to. Sigler noted that during her first pregnancy, she felt great. “I was taking longer walks than I had in years,” she said during the podcast. “It was a glorious time, it was also a time when I was still hiding the fact that I had MS. And I’d had some gait issues — a little bit of a limp. All of a sudden, people weren't questioning what was wrong with my walking, because I was waddling because I was pregnant. So I just felt this opportunity to kind of relax, not feel so self-conscious.”

Sigler was nervous about delivering her first son because MS had made her feel disconnected from the muscles in her body’s core, and she was unsure about whether she would be able to push during delivery. But with her doctor’s encouragement, she found the strength, and gave birth to a healthy baby. “It was an experience that went beyond MS,” she said. “It was more about, ‘You’re a mother, and this is your baby.’ He didn’t know what was going on with my body. And it was an opportunity for me to feel normal.”

Learn about what to expect with pregnancy when you’re living with MS.

Tired of Making Excuses

Sigler's decision to share her MS diagnosis publicly came when her son was about 2 1/2 years old. “He was getting to an age where he was very aware of my limitations,” Sigler said. “He didn’t necessarily know I had something called MS, but he knew there were things I couldn’t do, and it was also getting harder to hide. I was tired of making excuses.”

She didn’t want her son to have to keep her secret for her, so she chose to reveal her condition to the world.

When she went public, not only was it freeing, but it also led to self-acceptance. “Keeping it a secret had also allowed me to live in a state of denial myself,” she said.

Learn more about deciding when to disclose your MS to others.

Sigler and her husband Cutter Dykstra now have two sons: Beau, who is 8, and Jack Adam, who is 3. Although parenting with MS sometimes means that she has to skip activities, like school field trips, she’s found other ways to play with her kids, like working on Legos together. And she’s found that MS has strengthened her bond with her children.

“I actually don't know if I would be the person and mother I am proud to be right now without it,” she said. “I think we all are given something in our life to push us and make us grow. And MS happens to be my thing.”

‘We’re All Dealing With Something Extra’

Sigler offered advice to other parents who may be dealing with factors that make them feel different from others. “I think everybody is dealing with something extra, everybody has another hurdle to climb,” she said. “You’re not alone. Motherhood is something where you’re meant to have a village, whether that’s your best friends or people who you’ve met online or in a Facebook group. That doesn’t make you less of a mom and it never will. Just being a mom and loving your kids is more than enough.”

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Evelyn O. Berman, M.D. is a neurology and pediatric specialist and treats disorders of the brain in children. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about her here.
Torrey Kim is a freelance writer with MyHealthTeam. Learn more about her here.

Related articles

Maintaining independence is a concern for many people with multiple sclerosis (MS). And everyone ...

6 Resources for Independent Living and Managing MS

Maintaining independence is a concern for many people with multiple sclerosis (MS). And everyone ...
Multiple sclerosis (MS) often causes cognitive symptoms such as problems with memory and executiv...

MS and Mental Decline: 7 Strategies To Improve Memory and More

Multiple sclerosis (MS) often causes cognitive symptoms such as problems with memory and executiv...
Can people with multiple sclerosis (MS) drive? Absolutely. Although numerous MS symptoms can affe...

Driving With MS: 12 Things You Should Know

Can people with multiple sclerosis (MS) drive? Absolutely. Although numerous MS symptoms can affe...
Problems with cognition and cognitive decline are common among people with multiple sclerosis (MS...

Cognition Testing for MS: Know These 4 Benefits

Problems with cognition and cognitive decline are common among people with multiple sclerosis (MS...
Proper nutrition can help people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) feel their best, reduce some...

How Much Do You Know About Supplements for MS?

Proper nutrition can help people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) feel their best, reduce some...
Vitamin and mineral supplements are a popular topic among MyMSTeam members, who often discuss whi...

6 Facts To Know Before Buying Vitamins for MS

Vitamin and mineral supplements are a popular topic among MyMSTeam members, who often discuss whi...

Recent articles

Relapses, or periods of increased symptoms and disease activity, are common in relapsing forms of...

How Long Does an MS Relapse Last?

Relapses, or periods of increased symptoms and disease activity, are common in relapsing forms of...
Multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses are different for everyone.An MS relapse, or flare-up, is the ap...

What Does an MS Relapse Feel Like?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses are different for everyone.An MS relapse, or flare-up, is the ap...
People with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) may go through periods of new or worsening...

8 Symptoms of MS Relapse: How To Know if You’re Having a Flare

People with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) may go through periods of new or worsening...
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition in which a person’s immune system attacks the...

How Damaged Myelin Affects Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition in which a person’s immune system attacks the...
When a person has advanced multiple sclerosis (MS), they experience extreme physical impairment a...

Advanced Multiple Sclerosis: 4 Symptoms and 8 Ways To Manage

When a person has advanced multiple sclerosis (MS), they experience extreme physical impairment a...
Diphenhydramine, sold as Benadryl, is a type of antihistamine that can help reduce the likelihood...

Benadryl and MS: Why Is Benadryl Given With Some MS Treatments?

Diphenhydramine, sold as Benadryl, is a type of antihistamine that can help reduce the likelihood...
MS News
MS News

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close