Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Why I'm Grateful I Didn't Become a Mother
For the majority of my life I planned on having a child and I was going to do what was necessary to have a child and end the cycle of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) in my family with me so that I wouldn't pass it on to my child. I had a surrogate ready and willing and we were saving for the IVF that would be necessary as well as the egg selection to prohibit utilizing my eggs that had the FAP gene. However, I never felt quite ready to take the plunge and start the IVF process. The timing seemed off but the longer I procrastinated, the older I, my husband and my surrogate became nearing the age that pregnancy may not be recommended. I also was heavily concerned with the risk of pregnancy complications to my surrogate and if necessary, how the restrictive abortion laws of our state would affect her if she required to terminate the pregnancy in order to protect her health and life. I couldn't bear the thought of being the cause of harm or death to her when she was doing me a favor by agreeing to be my surrogate. After a lot of deliberation, I came to the conclusion that it would be better that we forego attempting to have a child and so I said goodbye to that dream. It was a heart wrenching decision that took a long time to fully process and accept. It was a difficult decision but I knew in my heart, it was the right decision for me.
And then a year later, my life changed and I was divorced. I not only was grieving the loss of my marriage but I was also re-grieving the loss of my dream to have a child. Even though I had decided to forego becoming a mother, with the divorce I was forced to fully let go of that dream unless something once again drastically changed in my life. If I were to become a mother, I would either have to make the conscious decision to attempt IVF with a donor or another life partner, adopt a child, or become attached to a life partner who already had a child.
In spite of all my dreams to become a mother, I am grateful that I am not a mother though. Deciding to become a single mother would not be an easy task and not one that I could easily financially afford either. It would be a difficult life on my own as a single mother, financially and physically, and I still would face the struggles of living with chronic illness and caring for a child as before but now I would be on my own doing so. Finding a life partner with a child already is a real possibility as it is hard to find someone around my age who doesn't have a child or children.
I've also become accustomed to my life as it is and as much as I previously wanted a child, I don't feel as though I'm missing out. I'm still able to enjoy the company of the children who are in my life and I'm able to do so without the stress and financial burden of raising a child. It is a well working system actually. I'm able to engage these children in fun and exciting activities when I'm able to do so and if I'm sick that day, I simply need to tell their parents so. I've also been blessed with these children being understanding and supportive when I am feeling ill.
The decision to not have a child is not necessarily an easy decision and it takes time to process. It was a long road to travel but ultimately I am content with my decisions and where my life is now. It has been helpful in my acceptance to acknowledge the realities of the struggles I would be presented with in my situation as well as the good things that make up my life. I've discovered it is possible to live happily childless even though that was not my initial plan. I have made peace with my life decisions and it has helped me to appreciate my life just how it is.
This is my life with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis and Short Bowel Syndrome. I was diagnosed with FAP as a child, underwent total colectomy at age 9. I experienced life threatening complications resulting in 4 more surgeries that year and developing medical PTSD. I had an ileostomy for 6 years before having it reversed into a straight pull-thru that also resulted in life threatening complications requiring an additional surgery the following year. In 2021, I required my 8th surgery to remove my gall bladder due to gall stones and FAP. This surgery exacerbated my, at the time undiagnosed, Abdominal Migraine which is now being treated.