ME Awareness week felt like the right time to publish this, I have had written for nearly a year. I don’t want to bring sadness to anyone but I also didn’t want anyone feeling alone in the choices we have to make in life, like the big life choices that stick forever.
Disclaimer, I just want to add Baloo and I HAVE NOT made a final decision on babies and in no way is this a judgement on any ethics, morality but our unique situation. Some of the best Mamas I know have a chronic illness and they manage amazingly well. Please don’t click out of this feeling like you shouldn’t have kids because you are ill. Everyone is different and due to the severity of my M.E as the baby carrier, it has a big impact on the plausibility of children for us in the future. But also Baloo has his own chronic illnesses to contend with. We don’t know what will be our future with this but I felt like the thoughts behind something most people desire to have was useful if you have felt any guilt about even thinking of a family whilst you are ill with ME etc.
Sometimes ME/CFS isn’t about just the symptoms and the sheer ill health we experience, it’s about the uncertainty and fear about the future and all the things we’d love to do that might not be possible.
Being a Mother was something I had envisaged happening along the way. It was something that I hoped would happen in my twenties but of course, I may have been far too busy with my career and I’d try to have the two children I craved in my thirties or later.
M.E/CFS ripped my life apart. And with that, I might have to say no to having kids with my wonderful boyfriend in the future far, far, far, far, FAR away distant future. No SMIR babies anytime soon, relax, this blog is here to stay.
At no point did I see a time that I would have to decide to not have children or a child. I had ‘prepared’ myself for a possible medical condition that would stop me being able to physically have a child. Nor did I think I would have to say I want them with all my heart but it’s possibly too selfish. I am stuck in this predicament, so challenging that it hurts.
I have always been the person drawn to babies and children like a magnet, I love playing silly games and reading stories. I spent a lot of my childhood surrounded by young babies and toddlers and I loved it. I was a pro at feeding, changing and burping, hide and seek and tickle wars. I always imagined ‘mini me’s’ running around the place. Still now if I picture my life in ten years it features children, children of mine.
For me, it isn’t as simple as money, timing and readiness.
It’s not just the logistics of pregnancy and babies, it’s medications, ethics and fundamental questions of genetics and bedside parenting, money, debt and worry. I thought I’d just battle through and it would be fine but what if it wasn’t? What if I couldn’t be the parent I wanted to be? What if bringing them into this world is not only selfish but harmful? I recently felt like I saw how Baloo and I being parents could affect them. Yes, they would be loved but who would teach them to ride a bike or swim? Who would be there for every assembly and sports day? How could they cope with the constant disappointment we would create in their little lives. I wouldn’t want to cause them worries about money and our care. I would hate for them to become carers before they were able to know any different.
I would love my own family and the idea of watching for decades everyone else has that cuts deep. But maybe that’s why its the ultimate sacrifice either way.
There are two scenarios that could play out, I want children but probably shouldn’t have them so I don’t and regret it for the rest of my life or I help create these people and potentially add a lot due to our unconventional lives. I don’t want them to feel responsible for myself or my partner. I don’t want them to miss out on all the opportunities they could have. I don’t want them to be carers. I don’t want to give them a half-hearted attempt at parenting from a bedside. But most of all I would hate to think that I potentially gave them a gift that no parent would want to give them, a life with their own chronic illness.
Who knows what the future may bring and maybe it will become clearer over time whether I will have children or whether it just isn’t an option. I know that my health could improve or get worse and maybe that will be when this question is answered but for now, I sit with the weight of the sheer magnitude of what having a child could mean for me.
I would love to have children and it would mean the world to be someone’s Mummy one day. To be able to be there for them and to hopefully raise them to be good decent adults who go on to do what they can and what they love.
I want a family but it might not be possible. The good thing is right now I am young and have some time to figure out the baby dilema and there are a lot of steps to complete before we got to kids. I wrote this even though it is really tough to type out because it can be really isolating and I just wanted to put this out there because someone else might feel the same or have the unanswerable question going around their heads. It can’t be uncommon because we don’t know what the future holds.
I hope I get to have a baby one day but it might have been taken because of ME.