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Christina Applegate Says Having MS Has Changed Her as a Parent: ‘It’s Heartbreaking’ to Say ‘I Can’t’ (Exclusive)

The 'Dead to Me' Actress, who was diagnosed with MS in 2021, misses dancing with her daughter and picking her up from school: ‘This is a loss for her as well’

<p>Jordan Strauss/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images</p> Christina Applegate and her daughter Sadie Grace LeNoble

Jordan Strauss/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

Christina Applegate and her daughter Sadie Grace LeNoble

Christina Applegate says living with multiple sclerosis means she can’t always be the mom she wants to be for her 13-year-old daughter Sadie.

“She's had to see the loss of her mom, in the way that I was a mom with her,” Applegate, 52, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “Dancing with her every day. Picking her up from school every day. Working at her school, working in the library. Being present out of the house, out of my bed. She doesn't see those things anymore. This is a loss for her as well. And we're both learning as we're going along.”

<p>John Salangsang/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images</p> Christina Applegate and her daughter Sadie Grace LeNoble at the Emmy Awards on Jan. 15, 2024

John Salangsang/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

Christina Applegate and her daughter Sadie Grace LeNoble at the Emmy Awards on Jan. 15, 2024

Applegate, who is launching a new podcast, MeSsy, on March 19 with close friend Jamie-Lynn Sigler, says that there are times when her MS symptoms are so painful and overwhelming that she isn’t able to be there for her daughter, whom she shares with husband Martyn LeNoble.

<p>Wishbone Production</p> Applegate and Sigler's new podcast MeSsy debuts March 19.

Wishbone Production

Applegate and Sigler's new podcast MeSsy debuts March 19.

“She'll come in the room, and if she sees that I'm laying on my side, she knows that she can't ask me to do anything,” says Applegate, who was diagnosed with MS in June 2021 when she was filming her Netflix series Dead to Me. “And that breaks me, breaks me. Because I love doing stuff for my kid. I love making her food. I love bringing it to her. I love all of it, and I just can't sometimes. But I try. I try.”

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Related: Christina Applegate Uses Cane with the Letters 'FU MS' at SAG Awards amid Battle with Multiple Sclerosis

Sigler, 42, who was first diagnosed with MS — a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system — more than two decades ago, has faced similar struggles as a mom to her two boys Beau, 10, and Jack, 6, whom she shares with husband, Cutter Dykstra.

<p>Courtesy Jamie-Lynn Sigler</p> Jamie Lynn Sigler with husband Cutter Dykstra and their boys Jack (left) and Beau.

Courtesy Jamie-Lynn Sigler

Jamie Lynn Sigler with husband Cutter Dykstra and their boys Jack (left) and Beau.

“My kids have known me only with MS. But there's been a lot of moments as a mom that I've had to hand over to someone else, and that's been really hard,” The Sopranos actress says. “It was hard for me to feel like I'm not their everything.”

Sigler says she’s often too tired to play pickleball or basketball with her boys. “There's other ways for us to engage with each other, and we have found that. But as a mom, you want to do it all,” she says. “When I pick up my kids from school, a lot of the time I'll just park and wait in the parking lot and wave to them. Every other mom is up waiting for their kids with open arms when they run out the door. And my kids will come and walk to me. And while that's fine...I want to be that mom, and I want to do those things and it's difficult.”

And sometimes, Sigler says, other parents don’t want to allow their kids in their car. They're afraid because I have MS,” she says. “I would never drive if it was unsafe for my children. But there's moments like that that you bump up to, just as a human being, that are really hard.”

For Applegate, driving can be intimidating, but she still wants to do whatever she can for Sadie. “In the morning, I try to take her to the bus stop…but if she sees my hands are shaking, she doesn't want me to drive her. She gets really nervous about it,” she says.

Related: Jamie-Lynn Sigler Says She’s 'Living a Very Full Life' Despite Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (Exclusive)

But one recent morning, when Sadie missed the bus and no one else was home, Applegate had to drive her the 25 minutes to school. “I haven't driven that far in three years,” she says. “I haven't driven more than eight minutes. Because I'm afraid. I’m scared. But this particular morning, it was just the two of us, and she was in the car, with her hand holding on and she's like, ‘Mom, I can tell you're nervous.’  We were driving down the hill almost giggling about it, because both my hands were 10-and-2, my shoulders were in my ears. She's like, ‘Mom, you're freaking me out!’  And we just laughed about it.”

One of the most difficult things about living with the disease, Applegate says, is knowing that it isn’t going away.

“This is forever,“ says Applegate. “It's heartbreaking when you have to say to your kid, ‘I can't.’ It's like the worst feeling in the world as a mother. You're their protector in life. When you have to say, ‘I can't,’ it rips your soul apart. I freak out about it every day.”

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Read the original article on People.