I Have a Chronic Illness and I Am a Mom


Some people say having a baby when you have a chronic disease is selfish. I have seen this comment being made on many occasions. Facebook gives people the platform to judge others who they don’t know. Recently, I was on a Facebook group where someone asked a genuine question about having a baby. Of course this person asking was worried about passing her condition on to her children. That’s normal. On reading through the comments on the post, I saw more than once people stating it was selfish to bring a baby into the world. With the idea that you would be bringing them in to “suffer” like you.

I think this is the wrong way to look at it. Telling someone their dream of being a mother is a selfish dream is cruel.

I struggle every single day from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and I have given up much throughout my life. I was a basketball player; I had to stop. I was a Gaelic player; I had to stop. My favorite class in school was PE; I had to stop. I liked going for long cycles, running with my dogs. My dream was to be a wedding photographer. I can’t do any of those things now. I don’t have the energy to do any of them. I feel I have spent my life giving up on my dreams because of this disease.

No matter how hard I have tried, I have not been able to stop my condition from making decisions for me.

 

Having a baby was something I was told would be difficult and I was told not to try after the age of 25. I was also told it wouldn’t happen. My partner really wanted to be a daddy; he wanted biological children but he also wanted to adopt.

I’m not saying that the thought of passing EDS on didn’t cross my mind, after all I got it from my mom. But I have three siblings who don’t have it. That is one in four in our family. I have allowed my condition to dictate so much in my life since it flared, and I didn’t want it to decide for me if I should have a baby.

My daughter is now almost 8 months old. She is the happiest baby ever and everyone says so, even strangers. I wouldn’t say having her was a selfish decision on my part. I went through so much to have her, I had a difficult pregnancy and an even more difficult birth. But I did it. I would say I was anything but selfish that entire time. I did everything for her. I would not change her for the world, and if she ends up having EDS, she will be better off than I was. I started with symptoms when I was 11 but wasn’t diagnosed until my 20s. Knowing I have it gives me an advantage with her if anything comes up.

I refuse to live my life in fear of the “what if,” instead I will live my life with hope.

I saw many comments of people saying if they knew their children would have a chronic illness, they wouldn’t have had them. They wouldn’t have had the children they have now? My mother wasn’t diagnosed before me, but if she was, I certainly wouldn’t wish to not be here just because I have EDS. I am not healthy and life can be hard, but I am happy.

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Thinkstock image by Fargo_Art


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