Do Women With Chronic Illness GET to be Pregnant? Tell Me, Because I’m Not Sure I Know

535450_10151455304997179_1168318848_n

I usually put a big disclaimer at the front of posts about topics like this one, just so my Grandpa doesn’t skim it and think I’m pregnant and start buying onesies by the boxful off of Amazon (Amazon was kind of his thing.) But he’s dead now. So I guess that’s not an issue.

After a hard week like this, I’m really struggling to believe that the future I want is a reality.  Is this really a world and a body and a situation where I can have kids of my own?

It’s more than the fact that going down that last ten milligrams on my medication has put me in a dark hole for a week where I’ve been hiding out from the migraines and the pain medications that go with them. (Which is another post entirely, that I was in too much pain to write about last night.)

It’s more than the idea that I won’t be able to take any painkillers during a pregnancy along with the other medications that help reduce the chance I’ll be in pain.

It’s the fact that I’m already losing my patience trying to be okay with the wading-through-water feeling of trying to function in my normal life while exhausted by what’s happening inside of my body. I can’t even take care of Happy.

I can’t take care of myself. How am I going to take care of anyone else?

12540852_10208408845366675_8256476191585638644_n-2

Now that we’re really, literally, actually setting the groundwork for our family, I’m having more and more doubts that this is a possibility. We’re looking at these houses and I’m trying to imagine our lives in them.

What am I supposed to do when the baby is crying and I’m climbing up and down the stairs and I’m attached to my IV and tripping over myself? What am I supposed to do when the migraines hit and I can’t get up in the morning to take them to school? When I can’t function? I’m pulling every single person in my life into the water with me. How is that fair?

Even if I go into the magical pregnancy remission that my doctors are reassuring me of, what happens after? After that I have the actual baby.  Do I stay off all my medication in case I want to have another one and don’t want to spend another entire year detoxing? Or do I frantically jump back on all the medication that’s been keeping me somewhat functional these last two years so I have a shot at being able to stand up straight during my baby’s first year?

11216483_10153270358332179_7383410886673126123_o

I never imagined my life without kids. I just always thought this thing was going to go into remission–not that I was going to have to figure out how to work every single detail of my life around it.

But growing up, who imagines their health being so tumultuous that it’s hard enough just taking care of themselves?

I know I generally have a lot more optimistic attitude about this. I know I’ve literally written the book on how to work every detail of your life around your illness. I know that if I really want them, come hell or high water or surrogates or five baby nurses or cuban coffee in my IV drop–I’ll have kids.

But the whole idea of it is a new book for me. I don’t know what could reassure me that it will all be okay. No one is ever ready for kids.

Does that mean me too? Is this normal or just another complication of chronic illness?

I could really use some advice from other women going through the same worries–or current moms who actually got through their pregnancies and are in full on parenting mode.

d26094b62708a34c6e13283b030bf66a

 

What’s your version of this story?

 

EDIT: Wowza. I did not expect this much response! Thank you all for sharing. Reading everyone’s stories here and on FB and twitter!

Comments

comments

  • My doctor has reassured me that Tylenol will likely still be an option while pregnant (and there may be others that we can explore if necessary) and that I am definitely still allowed to use baths (there were some restrictions on type and length, but they were not banned). Definitely discuss that with your doc. I would like to remind you that if you intend to breastfeed that you will need to stay off your meds while you do so because most can be transmitted that way. Which is a plus in a way, because if you want kids close together then you can just stay off meds while you breastfeed then get pregnant… kind of a backhanded positive, but food for thought at least.

    As for houses, you could always look for single story houses, or at least make sure that your bedroom and their bedrooms would be on the same floor. If you can’t find that, to minimize trips up and down, while they’re tiny, you could always rig up a small “survival” kit upstairs. Set up a small space upstairs that has essentials (mini-fridge, microwave, heating pads, etc). I’ve heard many things to make changing sheets and stuff easier in case of accidents (layering sheets and waterproof mattress protectors). And don’t forget, you won’t be completely on your own. Your family is willing to help you now, they’ll be willing to help you then too (and probably more so because little kids are so adorable and everyone loves them hehe). You can even think about finding houses where the laundry room is on the same story as the bedrooms, or that is directly beneath a closet so you can install a basic laundry shoot to avoid trips down the stairs with heavy hampers.

    Don’t worry, totally doable! I have faith. Just talk with your doctors and family 🙂 I would recommend addressing these concerns with everyone that will be helping you, and it wouldn’t hurt to draw up a “contract” ahead of time.