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To the People Who Ask Me When I'm Going to Have Kids

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To the people who ask me when I’m going to have kids,

Ever since I got married three years ago, it comes up in almost every conversation.

“When are you going to have children?”

This is a question I’m quite familiar with. Friends want to know. Family wants to know. Coworkers want to know. Whenever you ask me this, I try to answer as politically correct as possible.

“Well, it’s in our five year plan, and we don’t want to rush into anything. We want to start a family, but on our time.”

Usually that’s enough to make you understand, but what you hear from that response and what I actually mean are two completely different things. What I hope you hear is my husband and I want to make sure we are in a good place to raise a family. We want to have a good foundation built before we bring a child into this world. That’s all fine and dandy, and mostly true, but what you don’t know is there is more to this puzzle. The answer I want to give is too complicated, too drawn out and widely misunderstood. Why bother? It got me thinking, how would I answer you if I was able to truly express how I feel?

Well, I’d imagine it’d go a little something like this:

Well, I have emetophobia, which is the intense fear of throwing up. I know with pregnancy and motherhood comes a lot of throwing up. Whether that’s through morning sickness, gestational diabetes, the actual moment of childbirth and, of course, the spit up and stomach bugs kids, without fail, almost always get. Many emets, like myself, struggle with not only themselves getting sick but others getting sick too, which means pregnancy and motherhood is the most terrifying venture an emet mom can take.

When my husband and I got married, we said we wanted to wait five years before having children to allow ourselves plenty of time to get ready for the thought of children and to enjoy our lives the way we wanted before settling down. On top of that, I wanted to be able to work on my mental health, specifically my emetophobia. This way I could care for a child without boundaries or limitations. I didn’t want to be constantly living in fear of my child, or possibly injure it if it got sick, panicked and dropped him on accident.

I wanted to make sure when I become a mom, I’m prepared on a mental health level so my well being and the child’s best interests are kept at the forefront of my mind. Many people tell me, “Well, a kid will set your mind right. Everything will change when you have a kid.”

They aren’t wrong, because it’s 100 percent true. Everything will change, and I see many emet moms tackling motherhood head on and doing it as well as they are able. What they don’t know is while many emet moms put on a great front, it doesn’t help the emetophobia go away. They still struggle with the same anxiety, if not worse, knowing they have a small bundle of joy, who is to them, a ticking time bomb. It helps them face it, but without the proper tools to cope and handle those intensely stressful moments, progress cannot be made.

Simply put, it helps them face it because they realize they have to, but it does not take away the panic, the anxiety and the obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) rituals that follow every single moment after a child mentions his or her belly aches or after a sickness. To me, motherhood is not just something I can enter into without first fixing myself. I want to be a mom so badly. Yet, it seems selfish to put myself into a position simply because I want to without first thinking of how it may affect my child or others around me. I want to be ready for anything and handle the moments of anxiety that come with a sick child with the same level of distress as any new mom who is concerned. I don’t want to be packing a bag and heading to a hotel the moment my child starts to cry from a tummy ache.

This is why we aren’t having children yet. This is why it is important to me to focus on my mental health first because I want to be there for my child, no matter the situation. Many emet moms have children, and it’s inspiring to me. I don’t think they are necessarily doing anything wrong. Honestly, if they were happy and willing to have a child, I’m happy for them. It’s just not the path I wanted to take, and I wanted to make sure that my path will be as anxiety free as raising a child can be.

I have to get my head right, and I don’t think it’s wrong of me to focus on my own personal healing. I am so close to achieving my goal. I’m far closer than I ever thought I would be thanks to hard work and four years of counseling, but I still have a little ways to go.

So the next time you ask me or someone you know when they are going to have kids, remember maybe their answer has more depth than meets the eye. Perhaps their delay on waiting comes from mental health or a physical issue. Maybe they were just diagnosed with a life-changing disorder and need time to process before they open up and bring another life into this world.

In this moment, I need your understanding and to remember my emetophobia battle is the final piece to the puzzle before I achieve my ultimate goal. If I can get rid of that, or at least manage it effectively, then I will, without a doubt, be able to answer your burning question of when I’ll have children. I understand you want me to have children, but I also want you to respect my personal journey needs to come first.


An Optimistic Emetophobic

Originally published: July 12, 2016
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