"You have to want it more than you fear it." - unknown
I've always wanted to have a child of my own. I seemed to only find men who didn't want children, though; or, if they did, they were just not the right guy. What was up with that? Then I met Mr. Right. A few dates in, I learned that he had decided not to have any more children, that his two beautiful teens from his previous marriage were sufficient. However, I was falling for him and had to decide whether to end the relationship and continue to search for the right man to have children with, or give up that dream and take a risk that a life without my own child could be very fulfilling. I had a heart-to-heart with my mom, mother to three children, and we discussed the pros and cons of my possible futures. I decided to continue dating Mr. Right and today we are happily married. I love his children as my own.
Six weeks after we married, I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (Hypermobility Type), a painful genetic condition. My husband told me that he had been prepared to ask me about having children because he loved me so much, but this new diagnosis and all the uncertainties that we faced nixed that idea. Genetically, there is a 50/50 chance of having a child with EDS, and then the manifestations are different person to person. I also struggle with clinical depression that also seems to have a genetic component, though it's possibly related to the EDS. In addition to the risk to the child, it's possible that the damage to my own body from the relaxin hormone released during pregnancy could leave me disabled. This hormone is what enables the pelvis to relax/spread enough for vaginal birth. For some women with EDS, their pelvis is never the same.
So, life has been fine without a child in the house. We travel a lot; I can sleep in regularly; and we enjoy eachother's attention without much distraction. Yet I have this emptiness deep inside that I've been struggling to keep quiet. Am I making a mistake by not asking my husband to have a child together?
My two best friends have very different baby stories. One friend had an unexpected pregnancy that ended in an amazing, smart little boy who was intensely loved by his single mother. The boy's father was not in the picture until he was a toddler and even then, my friend didn't want him around. The father was dangerous and took unnecessary risks in life, so it was inevitable that his son would get hurt. My friend tried to limit contact and even took court action but they favored the father. At 5 1/2, her son died in a tragic accident caused by his father. She has never been the same. Though I knew her since she was pregnant with her son, she and I only bonded after his death. She's not able to have another child due to age, but she's considered adoption. However, she is also taking into consideration that she's enjoying her life as is, with no child or husband.
My other friend just had a beautiful baby boy a month ago. She never wanted kids but she married someone who really did. She said the other day that if she hadn't had a child, it would have been a big mistake. She's totally in love and will be an amazing mom. It's neat to be around a newborn too. Could I handle a newborn?
So, DH and I finally got around to the subject and he just doesn't see how it is possible, especially since he'd have to have surgery. He's also of similar mind to me that this world is pretty f'd up. And then I saw the quote above on a friend's Facebook page. She actually wrote, "When it comes to making big decisions - you've got to want it more than fear it." That struck a HUGE chord with me. At this point in my life, I have way too many fears about bringing a child into this (crazy) world. I think I'm done.
Although I know I'll have more moments in life where I regret not having a child, I now have this saying to look back onto. I don't like to succumb to fear, but this is one decision that will forever be ruled by it. If I were younger and unaware, I could have ignored my fears of the world we live in - who's to say we wouldn't have the world's next Nobel Peace Prize winner, or president; plus being a good mom is one of the best jobs ever. EDS is too big for me to handle. Plus, what if we had a child with autism or some other disability - yikes! I don't know how those moms do it on top of handling their own disability. At least EDS is familiar. I guess you do what you have to do for the loves in your life.
So, I will be the best mom I can to my two beautiful grown-up kids and will spoil my future nieces/nephews like crazy. My bff has also granted me honorary auntie status for her little guy. I am so grateful for these younger people in my life.
God works in mysterious ways...
(Do any of you deal with these worries or issues? I'd love to hear your perspective.)