Infertility, pregnancy, and health complications
This thread might not be relevant to a lot of you, or it may sound silly and stupid. I just really needed to talk. Shrinks just don’t cut it, this post will be long.
I am a small young woman. From birth I have had congenital abnormalities related to heritable genetic defects, and always known in the back of my mind that fertility, genetics, and labor would have complications.
I am not technically infertile, but I am fully grown and 4’7 with 71 pounds on my body. The malnourishment has been attempted to be treated since I was born with failure to thrive. I have skeletal dysplasia and underwent invasive surgeries to reconstruct my hands and left arm. I have had T3-L3 of my spine fused. I am waiting on surgery for my hips. I have a connective tissue disorder and Holt-Oram syndrome. I will not divulge further because it will get too lengthy. Doctors have repeatedly given me the long talk about genetics, and my own health for pregnancy and labor. At my size, a premature caesarian would be non-negotiable, I am at risk of tubal pregnancy, and I am at risk of amniotic rupture and uterine prolapse. I would be required to go on bed rest at 4-6 months of gestation with monitoring. This poses a risk to myself, the child, my husband’s psyche, and our finances. The child is at high risk of inheriting several autosomal dominant genetic disorders. I have them mild. The child would be severely afflicted in comparison to myself, on top of being premature.
From youth, I have loved children. I am the youngest child in my family, but I volunteered with a family member at a local church to provide care with a week-long Bible study in the summers, catered to children ages 4-6. I was around fourteen at this time, and since then, I have wanted to go into childcare. I want to teach grade school children.
Childless women are not trusted among their peers, who have begun to have children of their own. Women always, whether right or wrong, distrust a childless woman’s skill with children. More so that I have no little siblings, or cousins. I will never be accepted among peers in that way, and I will be a quiet bystander in discussions of how my friends children’s are going up, how they grow from starry eyed children to untamable adolescents, and then to young adults. I don’t think I will be accepted as a whole woman. A woman’s identity is deeply engrained with her maternal profile, and I will never be able to have it. I don’t want to be pitied— I don’t want for my friends, who are to become mothers, to pity me and always stay hush hush around me when children come up. I don’t want to make people uncomfortable.
I have a wonderful boyfriend who intends to make me his wife. He is my blessing. I know in many ways, he craves to be a father, even if he hasn’t really considered it in the way I have. He is a delightful young man with a clean bill of health and a big heart. He would be a fantastic dad.
Children are still in the future for us, without a doubt. They are not something we are prepared for or ready for, but we are still in the position to think about it. And as much as I feel like a monster for it, I just don’t know if I could financially support such a sickly little child as well as they deserve, and still cope with their suffering and pain, and find the time to reserve with their medical appointments and whatnot. It was a massive, massive strain on my parents just with me. Financially they struggled so much, they entered debt and my father worked long hours to foot the medical bills. My mother and father had to find the time, exhausted as they were, to bring me to innumerable appointments with surgeons and specialists and expensive tests.
I also don’t know how my body would handle the pregnancy. My doctors put their noggins together and spoke with me directly. Chances of genetic inheritance, chances of infant and mother’s mortality, chances of disability for myself post-pregnancy. The outlook is not good. My husband would love me regardless of how I am, he would work to help me where I couldn’t and he would sacrifice so much for me. But how could I do that to him, truly? How could I put him through that, with myself out of the game and my child sickly too? What if I passed away? I discussed this with him and the thought seemed to make him sick. For this and this alone, I know I absolutely cannot subject him to that.
Women and men in my family are a little old fashioned. They still continue to say, “well, you may change your mind…!” and look all expectant at me, as if they just know I won’t be able to resist having a child. Even after my numerous explanations of why I can’t have a kid, despite being fertile. They just can’t wrap their heads around it. They don’t understand, and they don’t understand how their prodding hurts me.
Or, they say, “well, you never know how genetic medical science will come im X years!” Well, in X years, I will be in my late twenties and thirties. I can’t afford that time for several reasons, and it also poses a big ethical dilemma for me. It weighs how much I want to mother a child, versus my own view and thoughts on genetic editing. I am religious and it does not really hold up well for me. This is even if it will be safe and available and legal then— and again, affordable. The child would also have to cope with knowing they are engineered this way. I don’t know what that could do to them. And there’s still my own mortality that comes into play.
I don’t know how antinatalists will like my desire to mother my own children. I would happily adopt a child, and love them like they are my own skin, flesh, and blood. I would do it without hesitation and complaint. But I cannot deny my desire to have the experience so many women take for granted. Women who don’t give a single fuck about their children can pop out nine and not even provide them a bed to sleep in. They won’t take them to the dentist. Their children are an afterthought to them. I would love to nurture, protect, and love these children as my own. But there’s still just… the desire. I want a product of my husband and mine’s love, I want to see his eyes in them and know this is his greatest gift to me. I just. It’s so hard. I can’t describe it at all.
I seem very whiny, and I know this entire vent is me feeling sorry for myself. It’s just so much to process. I just want to have a family to love— a husband and a child to love, like my mother never loved her husband, and like my mother never loved me. I know a perfect mother doesn’t exist. But desperately, desperately I want to love a family of my own. I mourn the loss of the children I never had. And I don’t know if this guilt for my own body being too fucked to have kids will ever go away. I don’t know if the longing and pain will go.
I’m blessed in so many ways. I’ll just process this sting on my own. If you listened, thank you.