I thought I would start this out with pictures of my mom’s children. That’s me on the left, my brother in the middle, and my sister on the right. I guess my brother was the only one who was happy to start preschool?
Today I wanted to talk about the decision to have kids. I have refrained from talking about this because I clearly do not have any children of my own so I can’t offer any advice from that standpoint. Hell, I don’t even know if I want children. And even if I did want children, I’m at the age where it’s getting close to needing to have them asap. It’s not about whether or not I like kids (I do), or whether or not I would be a good mom (I would), but it comes down to whether or not I have my life in order - being married, a steady income, a nice home (I don’t). But what I do have is an opinion, and after hearing so many people talk about having a disease and whether or not they should have children I thought i’d weigh in.
This was a topic of conversation that came up with the teen girls at camp. Many mentioned how they were fearful of having children because they would feel so bad if their child got Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Some said that they didn’t even want to have kids because of it. It’s not just camp that I see this topic come up. All over the internet I see young women talking about how they would never have kids because they wouldn’t wish this on their worst enemy, or how guilty they feel because their child actually did get IBD.
Here are my thoughts: If you want to have kids, HAVE THEM. Seriously. I would never let my disease hold me back from having children if that is what I really wanted. I suppose you could look at that from a standpoint that I’m being selfish, but it isn’t that at all. The thing is, my mom has a lot of autoimmune diseases…my fate was pretty destined. What if she decided that she didn’t want to have kids because she is so ill?
Then I wouldn’t be here.
I like being here!
There isn’t a day that goes by that I blame my mom for the fact that I am sick. Okay, I admit that in the midst of my darkest times I may have yelled and blamed her in an angry fight and told her it was all her fault, and I still feel so terrible for that.
But do I really blame her?
Does she feel guilty because I am sick?
I watched tears fall from her face just last week as she asked me if I blamed her because I am sick. I know that my mom had kids because she wanted to bring us into this world and love us and do the best that she could. Never would she wish illness on any of her children. I find that I am often comforting her and making sure that she knows that none of this is her fault.
I like my life, even with all of it’s struggles. If I were ever to have kids it would be because of all of the love that I have to give them, I wouldn’t let my disease hold me back. Sure, I never want to see my hypothetical children suffer. I would hope that they didn’t have any kind of disease and it would probably break my heart when they scrape their knees or go through their first heart break. BUT, if they do end up with IBD then I can only hope that it has the same affect that it has had on me. In that it makes them a stronger person, a person who appreciates life, and a person who wants to change the world. I would be right there to help them through it, and I hope that my hypothetical children will look at me in the same way that I look at my mom. She is the strongest lady I know and through all of her suffering you hardly ever hear her complain. She works so hard, and she is so giving of herself. My mom is one of the nicest people that I know and she has a heart of gold.
So all I am saying here is that Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis sucks. We all agree. It would also suck to pass that disease to your children and see them suffer. I think we can all agree to that too. But should you not have children because of that? Not in my opinion. I am glad my mom chose to have kids. For me the decision to have kids comes down to a lot of other things, but disease (as terrible as it is) is not a factor in that decision.