How Do I Face My Greatest Fear? Being Childless

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“You’re running out of time,” said my OB/GYN following my latest exam. Does she think I don’t know my own age? I wondered.

“The last time we talked, we discussed that this is the best time for you to get pregnant,” she continued. “So what’s going on?”

It took me a moment to process the gravity of what my doctor was saying. I felt my stomach drop and tears begin to form as I thought about how my greatest dream was slipping away. I’ve always wanted kids. In fact, I can’t imagine my life without any. Yet, time is passing by and I’m not closer to motherhood.

I cleared my head and responded, “I understand. At this point, I may have to proceed on my own.”

“Well, I hope that’s not the case. In the meantime, I think you need to talk to a high risk doctor about your autoimmune condition to see how it would affect you during a pregnancy. Right now, your blood work looks good, you’re at a great weight and your exam was perfect. However, I’ve never had a patient like you. Do you know of anyone else with IGG4-RD that’s had a baby?”

“No and neither has my rheumatologist. All I know is my body overreacts to any virus, incision or changes of any sort. It might not be kind to a fetus. Combined with my PCOS, bringing a child to term won’t be easy.”

“Ever consider a surrogate?”

I want to see and feel my child growing just like other women, I thought. But, I replied, “I don’t know that I could afford that.”

“A lot of people have success with crowdfunding. I think you have a unique story that would resonate.”

“I’ll think about it,” I muttered. But, I thought, I don’t want to beg people to support me. No matter how large my medical bills have gotten over the years, I’ve always tried to pay them myself. I can’t expect strangers to care about my struggles.

I slowly got dressed and contemplated the reality that I may never have children of my own.

I thought, I never imagined surviving all of my medical struggles to end up without a family; with no one to love or care for me as I age. I paid hundreds of thousands of dollars  to survive surgeries, procedures or a lymphoma scare because I thought the best years of my life were yet to come. But, now I have to face the fact that with every passing day I get closer to having to face my greatest fear that I will be childless; that the future I envisioned will not come to fruition.

How am I going to face this? I wondered.  I suppose like every other obstacle in my life: think, plan, pray and never give up. 

 

 

 

Here’s Why I Don’t Expect Flowers for Mother’s Day

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From the moment I looked into his little eyes I loved him. I cherished his curiosity, innocence, playfulness and pure joy. The truth is I love my “stepson” in ways that are deeper than the affection I have for his father.

For nearly seven years, I’ve cared for his cuts and scrapes, done homework, changed sheets, done laundry, made breakfast, listened to stories and watched him grow. I’ve planned trips so I could show him the world and planned adventures so he could test his limits. I’ve been at his plays, concerts and religious rites of passage so he knows someone is always there for him. I’ve been proud of his accomplishments and tried to guide him through his failures and problems.

Of course, it’s not always easy being in the background or being constantly reminded that I’m not his biological mother. Yet, I try to remember that I care for him because when I met his father I decided I had to love him as if he were my own if my relationship was going to grow and flourish. Also, I always wanted to be a mother so being a stepparent, to me, was the next best thing. Even though I only get to do the job part-time, I cherish my time with this child who is now a young man.

I’m grateful to his mother for bringing this sensitive, generous human being into the world. I’m humbled she, and his father, let me have a hand in shaping him. I don’t expect cards, flowers or praise on Mother’s Day. I’ve already gotten a gift that fills my heart each and every day.

Happy Mother’s Day!