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Please Don't Tell People Who Are Chronically Sick to 'Hurry Up and Have Kids'

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Today I was advised (yet again) to “hurry up and have kids” before I get too old. The person dishing out this sage advice firmly believed they were helping me by telling me to get a move on, especially as my partner and I have been together for such a long time. What this person did not know is that their advice felt like a punch to my stomach.

I have something called multiple autoimmune syndrome (MAS), which means having three or more autoimmune diseases. In my case, I currently have five, plus a whole plethora of add-on conditions (comorbidities) directly caused by these main ones. It is a very rare situation to find yourself in, but like others who have significant and complex health problems, I have had to adjust my outlook on life and what I hope to achieve.

Ultimately, this has meant evaluating my ability to become a mother. I was offered a hysterectomy not too long ago due to my health issues, and it really hit home the reality of my situation. I, like some others who are unwell and for various reasons specific to their circumstances, will never be able to have children. I have my “physical” reasons, but also emotional ones, such as placing a good amount of pressure on my partner who already works full-time. I feel my partner would have to essentially become a “single parent,” as let’s face it, he would be the one doing the parenting. It’s difficult, since I often can’t get out of bed, let alone cater to the needs of a child. It’s such a painful, heart-breaking decision to have to acknowledge when your friends are all having beautiful children of their own and doing all the things you would give anything to be able to do. Still, for me to choose differently would be impossible.

So please, for those of you who have friends or acquaintances without children, don’t ever say “get a move on” or “you should just have kids” because you cannot appreciate how much it hurts like hell. You don’t know the difficulty of the decision-making process involved or the pain it has caused, so don’t make it worse. Be grateful for the gorgeous children you are blessed with or will go on to have, and try to let a friend know who does not have what you have that they are always welcome and wanted in your kids’ lives. I’m lucky to have children in my life, thanks to my friends and family who have understood and continued to include me in their lives.

Originally published: October 27, 2020
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