Chronic Illness and Kids

I may get a lot of people disagree with me on this post. It’s not intended to offend, it’s simply my opinion and decision about my own life.

Being a 27 year old in a long term relationship with my own home, I often get asked ‘when are you planning on having kids?’ I seem to have the perfect set up for bringing a baby into the world. The truth is, I won’t be. Maybe never. I’ve been through the broody phases and occasionally I still do. However, having a baby isn’t so simple for me and I bet there are many women in the same position.

Having a chronic illness has pretty much made having a baby very difficult for me. My biggest problem area is the bottom half of my body; from my lumbar spine, down to my feet. Walking is a huge challenge for me and every single step is agonising. My hips can’t take much weight so the pressure gets put onto my knees and my spine and I’ve developed osteoarthritis in all 3 places. I also have problems with migraines, nausea, gastro oesophageal reflux disease, fatigue, muscle spasms and nerve problems (not yet diagnosed). I fidget a lot because I can never find a comfy position to sit or lay in. I often need help to do things like housework, cooking, getting into bed, getting up the stairs or even getting dressed/undressed. It’s hard work. It’s exhausting.

Now, back to the point of this blog. 

It may be quite obvious why I won’t be having kids. The pregnancy alone would be extremely difficult and put far too much pressure on my joints. As someone who already uses a wheelchair, I can only imagine how much more I would have to use it. Every task that I already struggle with would become even more difficult, impossible maybe. The pain levels I currently deal with take so much of my energy and my mental health has been impacted severely because of this.

Bringing a baby into this world when I struggle to look after myself wouldn’t be good for either of us. Lots of people might manage to make it work because they have a lot of help from family members or friends. My friends and family all work full time. Even my partner, Paul, works very long hours and wouldn’t always be here to help me when I need him. It’s easier when it’s just me. I manage enough for a while and if I don’t eat, well I’m not going to slip down a grid any time soon. 

I’ve always had it in my mind that if I’m not well enough to work, then I’m not well enough to bring up a child. Maybe that’s just me and my workaholic mindset. I wanted a good career and to carry on my fun social life, holidays every year, a beautiful wedding and the feeling of satisfaction knowing that I’d earned it all. To me, that was the definition of a happy life. Having kids would have been a bonus. However, Paul has 2 kids already and I’ve been with him since they were very young. Jessica was about 6 and Erin was 1 almost 2 I think?! So I had the opportunity to do nappy changes, story time before bed, calming them down after a nightmare and the potty training etc. It didn’t make me broody and it wasn’t something I could see myself doing full time. It was more of a novelty. At the time, I was 20, working 2 jobs, doing a college course, spending a lot of time seeing my friends and going out dancing and drinking. I wanted to do more of the fun things and potty training wasn’t one of them. Don’t get me wrong, it was hilarious at times and I have many funny stories that I can bring up on the girls’ 18th birthdays to add a little embarrassment but that life, full time, was not for me. 

I believe that having that experience has made it much easier for me to accept I would be having no kids of my own now that I’m older. 

I spend a lot more time with the girls now that my life has changed so drastically and I’m not working or going out drinking and dancing. I love them both to bits. We have a top laugh and are just generally crazy when we are together. However, I am always so exhausted after a weekend with them and if I’m too ill to do something fun with them, I see the disappointment in their faces and it makes me feel worse. I really would struggle if this was every day. 

Of course, this is just my life. Everybody has different ambitions and for many women, having a baby will have been one of the proudest and happiest moments of their lives. For myself, I can only imagine further struggle and I prefer to not put myself and my family through that. I have my wonderful fiancé (albeit extremely grumpy at times), my 2 step-kids (now 13 and 8), my gorgeous smushy faced pug, Gus, my 2 beautiful cats, Dobby and Luna and my family and friends. I pour everything I have into making them happy and try my hardest to find the positives in every single day. Not having a baby does not make my life a failure or meaningless in any way. If anything, it makes me appreciate what I DO have much much more. 

Here is a picture of my gorgeous Gus x

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