If I Had Never Had My Child…

(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.

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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11 Responses to If I Had Never Had My Child…

  1. Chris King says:

    I am so sorry to read of your troubles and so many compounding health problems. You may feel that Tyler is not getting a fair shake from life but your caring comes through. Prayers for all of you.
    Just popped in from Mama Kat to say hi!

  2. I’m a firm believer in Proverbs 139 – that God planned your days before you were born. Yes, the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy – but God also knew the challenges you would face. And, when He gave you your son, He knew just what both of you needed. God has an awesome plan for your family. Sometimes we have to adjust our interpretation and expectation.

    I know a couple whose son is going to be a senior. Their health is never good. He has to help them to and from the car to soccer games a lot of times – He is considerate, thoughtful – and a leader. How many kids out there would love to have parents who LOVED them like you love your son? Don’t be so hard on yourself – think blessing in the midst of the challenge.
    bluecottonmemory´s last blog post ..Tippy Tap Blogaversary and Announcement

  3. Kelly says:

    Wow. I am glad I found you through SITS. Thanks for the sweet things you said on my feature! I’ll be back. Kelly

  4. Mrs4444 says:

    I understand why you feel discouraged, but your dreams are still worth dreaming. Remember–many, many people grow up with less than what you have and feel glad they had it tough (but had love); it builds character and makes you appreciate life more. It’s natural to feel guilty as a parent, but try to resist that. Love/family is what really matters.

    And guess what? Because you have no income, Tyler is MORE likely to go to college (provided he works hard and gets good grades). See–disability has a perk!haha That said, sorry about the bankruptcy. Here’s to a fresh start.

  5. Heather says:

    I have a double perspective. My mother has lupus and fibro. Growing up I didn’t always understand why she was always sick, why she couldn’t go to all the school things with me. Fast forward several years, I have Lupus and Fibro. I have 4 children from 24 to 3 years of age. Of which only 2 are still at home. My daughter is 15 and helps around the house and in the care of the “baby”. Everyone she comes into contact with says she is such a caring and “old soul” kinda gal. I think in some ways her mother’s illness has made her more caring and compassionate toward others. I have always been honest and upfront about my illness and limits. Where my parents kept us kids in the dark, I don’t judge them on their choice to do that. But I think it would have made things less confusing and self blaming on me. Even parent’s who are “well” have issues and battles. I think the battle of chronically ill parents are different, but maybe our children will grow up to cure the illness that plague us. Or maybe they will just be more sympathetic to the woes of others.
    Heather´s last blog post ..Tomorrow

  6. If your son is a gift from God and I do, then He must have a plan for your family. I have no idea what it could be but He does.
    JDaniel4’s Mom´s last blog post ..Veggie Tales Live! Sing Yourself Silly Review and Giveaway 2 winners

  7. Your child was born out of love and a desire to share that love with another.

    There is no shame is what has happened. With any disease the expectation and hope is almost always that you will get better and not worse. Unforutnatly sometimes do you not but that is the cross that some are tragically faced to bear.
    Tyler can have all these things you want for him they just may come about another way.
    A college education is not out of reach, he will just have attain it with a little more effort. My parents were not able able to contribute a penny to my college education, but I was able to stay at home while I was in school. Even though all they could offer me was a place to sleep while I cracked the books, that was all I needed.
    Don’t think of what you can’t do for Tyler. Think of what you can and already do for him.
    You love him, want the best of him, and try to best do get him the things he wants and needs. So many people see children as a burden and you do not. Don’t forget that.
    Oh and great choice in a name.
    My son’s name is Ty. Not Tyler, just Ty, but I am still fond of all the variations.

    Keep your head up mama. Good things happen to good people.

    -The Nerdy Nurse
    The Nerdy Nurse´s last blog post ..Need a Pet There’s an App for That! Cube Dog iPhone App Review

  8. Caroline says:

    Oh my goodness, Emily, this post touched me in such a DEEP way. You know I understand, and reading it brought tears to my eyes. Three IS a magic number!!!

  9. Jennifer says:

    I continue to read and admire you everyday. I can’t even imagine how I would cope with what you cope with on a daily basis. Keep going baby. You’re doing great. I’m here if ever you need me. <3
    Jennifer´s last blog post ..My life without kids…

  10. Karen says:

    As the child of a chronically ill mother, I can honestly tell you that I and both of my brothers are more grateful than we can say that my mother had all three of us. Your story brought me to tears, because I get what you’re saying – you want the best for Tyler. But you know what? “Best” is relative. You give him the best you can every day of your life and that will mean the world to him when he’s old enough to appreciate it.

    My mom struggled for many years and eventually became too disabled to work – she probably should have stopped working a lot sooner than she did. It’s been almost five years since she died of complications due to secondary effects of her disease, neuro-sarcoidosis, which has been compared to Lupus and MS.

    I hate that I lost my mom so soon, but I wouldn’t wish a single minute of my time with her away. She meant so much more to me than having material things or doing various activities that I didn’t get to do. I know you didn’t ask for it when you wrote this – you’re just being honest about your feelings, but I hope my perspective helps, even a little bit.
    Karen´s last blog post ..Just in the nick of time

  11. I really needed to read this post, this morning. Thank you for your total honesty. Thank you for posting.


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