(I am writing this post on my husbands laptop, as mine has crashed. His laptop has a possessive/quote key that works about 25% of the time. As he is a professional writer I do not know how he can stand this, but there it is. I write this to let people know that my grammar and editing are much better than it would appear. Thank you.)
Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.
3.) Describe what you think your life would be like if you had never had kids.
(inspired by Amy from Somebody’s Parent)
I must thank Amy for this prompt for this is something that chronically ill people who are raising children probably think about every day of their lives.
My husband and I were married when I was 33 years old in 2002 and had planned to wait about a year before we would try to have a child, but two months into our marriage I started to show the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Children had to go on the back-burner, as I would go on a journey of extreme pain and frustration until I was properly diagnosed. Once I was, it took me over a year to start feeling decent to the point that living with RA was not such a struggle and that as long as I took my medication regimen, I felt pretty good. Other diseases and conditions developed such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, but with medication and proper rest, my illnesses were livable and I was able to continue working full-time.
In 2005, my husband, who is also chronically ill, and I felt we were in the best health we were ever going to be. We made an appointment with a genetic counsellor who told us that because Grant and I did not have a family history of our physical illnesses, a child would only have a 1-2% chance above the average population of inheriting them. I researched my medications, decided what I would stay on and what I would come off of, and in October of 2005 I started to monitor my ovulation and basel temperature as I was 36 years old and was not sure how easy it would be to conceive.
Grant and I decided that we would leave conception up to God. Meaning that for us, and I do not judge anyone else, if we could not conceive naturally then that would be a sign from God telling us that a child was not meant to be.
But I guess Tyler was because I conceived the first time I tried! It was the happiest time of my life. I was the type of woman who had wanted a child since she was a child. I think Grant and I were both thinking that we would want at least two children.
I found out I was pregnant January 7, 2006. On January 9th, Grant and I were awarded a very large sum of money from a lawsuit. We were on top of the world.
When Tyler was born I suffered terribly from postpartum depression. I wouldnt describe Tyler as a baby who had colic, for he was happy most of the time, but he would stay up anywhere from 10 to 14 hours at a clip, which as many of you know, is extremely unusual for an infant! I was exhausted, I would walk the floors, trying to get him to go to sleep. When Tyler was four months old I found I could not walk on one of my feet, the pain was so bad that I went to the emergency room. The diagnosis: Your RA is flaring. They sent me home with crutches, which was idiotic for someone who had Costochondritis. Sure enough, all of my ribs started to flare. I couldnt use the crutches so I had to crawl to my baby when he needed me and bring all of his things to the floor. We lived on the floor.
Despite this and when those flares calmed down, I never tired of playing, singing and just being with Tyler. As he became more mobile, I loved taking him to the park, pushing him on the swings, even going down the slides and playing on the jungle gyms myself. Motherhood was finally the completion of the life that I wanted.
I went back to work when Tyler was seven-and-a-half-months-old. I was doing the Super Mom thing. Grants health began to fail so badly he was let go from his job in May of 2007, as he never told them about his illnesses.
In October I suddenly found myself very sick. Painful joints, exhausted, I was popping narcotics like they were candy and falling asleep during my commute. In March of 2008 I was laid off, a victim of the economy. I looked at this as a blessing. I was just tired and if I rested I would get stronger, and then I would look for another job. Instead I just got sicker, by the day.
I was diagnosed with Lupus that June. That was it for me. I could not work any more. I kept Tyler in daycare because I couldnt take care of him on a 24/7 basis. As I wait now for my disability, all of our money is gone and we will file for bankruptcy this month.
Did having Tyler make me sicker? Yes, probably, as is often the case with hormonal, postpartum women. Do I regret having him? Here is where it gets tricky. No, not for ME, for it is through him that I experience moments of profound joy. But for HIM…yes, I do. Gone are all of the dreams I had for my son. The dreams that most American families have and achieve. A house with a backyard, helping him go to college, taking him on vacations. I dont know if this will ever be and I wonder if some day he will turn on me, and so he should. He will never remember a time his parents werent sick.
Grant and I were stupid, naive. It never occurred to us that we could get sicker. If we had thought this through we never would have had a child because for US, and I capitalize that, because I do not want to offend other chronically ill parents, that would have been irresponsible.
If I had never had my child I might be a bit healthier, less tired, maybe still working, with a lot more money. But there would be a hole in both Grant and I s hearts, for Tyler is truly the completion of our family.
For us, Three is the Magic Number.