This entry is brought on my a cryptic message I got last night from my mum…it just said “I’ve heard you are trying to start a family, is there something you aren’t telling me?”
What?! Now, my family are avid gossip instigators, so this isn’t that unusual a message. I’ve lived away from home in different cities for 8 years now, they like to speculate. But this one hit a nerve!
Growing up I always thought I would have kids, everyone in my family did, I could get into a feminist discussion about expectations put on young girls to “naturally assume” they want children….but I’ll leave that aspect for now.
But then when I was 15 my mum told me I’d need to take a test when I was 18 so see whether I had inherited her fertility problem. One of her ovaries carries eggs which have a duplicate chromosome. I decided that I wouldn’t even try to have children if I had this genetic disorder, even though she had managed to have two healthy children, the probability ratio didn’t look good. So I took the test and they said they were 98% sure I didn’t have yet, yey for medical science!
I was hit by a car at the age of 16, it was almost fatal. Instead, I was given some more insidious lifelong medical problems which which dog me to this day. Including a damaged pituitary gland which led to PCOS (Poly Cystic Overian Syndrome). This lovely syndrome came which very painful but irregular menstruation, insulin resistance, and many more lesser but still irritating side-effects. The main problem for women with this syndrome is fertility problems…Oh and losing weight *sigh*
Then I got M.E. Which in itself doesn’t have specific fertility problems, that I know of, but it’s affect on your body as a whole does not make the thought of carrying a fetus for 9 months then being a mother appealing!
We are now getting to that age, we are in a settled relationship, have a house together, a car, a dog. So naturally people start to ask the question of “So when are you going to have children?”
My partner isn’t really in the children camp, he has his own reasons: restrictions, financial implications etc. But also he knows what it would do to me to try to have children, I have very minimal energy as it is and I am in constant pain, adding a child to take would be crippling.
Recently I’ve just taken to telling people we don’t want children. As if taking ownership for the decision will make me feel better than saying, “Well…I probably can’t have children”, then to watch as people try to make sense of my situation and offer ideas of how I could make it work.
I feel like my life has been constantly telling me that having children would be very difficult for me, on top of all the stress and demands put on any parent. Maybe that’s just not a role for me.
But then, I doubt I’m alone, there are probably a lot of us out there pondering the same questions.