What It Entails to Love a Person With a Congenital Heart Defect

When my husband (then boyfriend) first said “I love you,” I paused and started to panic in my mind. For so many years, I doubted that I was lovable or that I would find someone to spend the rest of my life with because of my congenital heart condition.

There is so much that comes with loving me. When he said I love you, all I could think of was, “Does he even know what it entails to love me?”

The day after he said “I love you,” my mind was spinning. I started having thoughts of, “Does he really grasp what life would look like with me long term? Have I been completely been honest with him about my condition? Does he fully understand that our marriage won’t look like your average marriage?”

My mind was like a broken record. I couldn’t get these questions out of my head. I realized that the only way to find out if he truly knows what it entails to love me was to simply ask him.

Stepping into that conversation and asking that vulnerable question wasn’t easy. My heart was racing and my hands were sweaty. I said to myself, “Lindsay, you have got this and it is only fair to him that he knows what life may look like with you.”

Right out of the gates, I asked the bold question, “Babe, I know you said you loved me, but do you really know what it entails to love me?”

From there I went onto explain that high medical bills were always going to be in our future. I explained that there is no cure for congenital heart disease, it comes down to quality of life and wait-and-see scenarios. I explained that I can’t tell you when I will have health complications but I can promise you, I will have them. I explained that a major surgery will most likely happen, that my life may be cut short due to my illness… And then I paused. This was the hardest part. I explained that bearing my own children wasn’t possible.

When I finished the long explanation, he told me that it changes nothing about how he feels for me. He comforted me saying that he would always be my biggest champion throughout our whole lives. He didn’t care how much the medical bills would cost or that I can’t bare our children. He just wanted to love me fiercely and unconditionally. What I realized is that just because I have a chronic illness doesn’t mean I am not lovable. It means that I have experienced challenges that have shaped me into who I am. And who I am is who my husband fell in love with.

It wasn’t easy being vulnerable, putting all my cards on the table. But at the end of the day, this is my story and this was his life that would become our life. It is through his love that I am encouraged to live in the moment, always seek adventure and to never take anything for granted. And the best part is, we sealed it with our vows and a kiss on July 9, 2016.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by Sergiy Serdyuk

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Congenital Heart Defect/Disease

man and woman lying on grass

When My Heart Defect Made Me Ask, 'Why Me?'

Growing up with a heart defect had a relatively small impact on my life. Thankfully, I was able to play sports and my parents weren’t preoccupied with my health. In high school I started to feel more alone because I didn’t know anyone else like me. At that time I started to have some problems [...]
Doctor having meeting with parent and child in doctor's office

Being a Parent on the Front Lines of Overcoming Misdiagnosis in Congenital Heart Disease

“Why isn’t this helping her, doctor?” I asked the tired-looking doctor who stood at the foot of my daughter Sammi’s bed. We were at the end of Sammi’s sixth endoscopy that year, and as she dozed off the last of the anesthesia, I looked at my tiny 6-year-old and wondered aloud, again, whether her trouble [...]
Close-up of parenting holding baby's hand

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness: Our Family's Story

I remember vividly walking into the NICU to visit my daughter Jaycee the day after she was born. I was surprised to see there was a flurry of activity around my baby. Several doctors surrounded her tiny bed focused on a screen connected to something I could not see. A nurse showed me to a [...]
woman and young boy with blonde hair

A Mom's Plea During Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

Today is February 10. Smack dab in the middle of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, which runs from February 7 to the 14. My 6-year-old son, Bodie, was born with a complex congenital heart disease (CHD) called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, or HLHS. The structures on the left side of his heart didn’t form correctly. In [...]