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I Can’t Have Children, But I Don’t Want You To Feel Sorry For Me

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girl hands folded feet hanging
Hanna Morris

My inability to carry my own children has been a difficult subject to publicly write about because it always brings emotions to the surface. But I’ve been seeing so much positivity on the “no kids for us!” subject that I decided to share an emotional side to it. Yes, some people make choices to not have kids, but there are some who don’t get as easy of a choice.

I’m the latter, and while I’m totally up for the perks of not having kids, like the ability to travel and more freedom, sometimes there’s an empty feeling, or tinge of pain when I see a beautiful couple with their baby walking through the store. Just as it’s completely okay to not want kids, there shouldn’t be anything taboo about the subjects of infertility or not having them because of medical reasons.

I’ve always wanted my own children. Prayed that they’d be healthy and have even had their names picked out for as long as I can remember. Aside from that, I could actually see myself as a mom.

I think most women can. It’s something that’s ingrained in us. But I’ve had Lupus for 20 years and it, along with my kidneys, went crazy in 2009. I had to do more chemo, more steroids, so many more drugs. And I was faced with hard facts:

Pregnancy with Lupus makes you high risk. Pregnancy with Lupus Nephritis makes the risks incredibly high. My personal situation with the disease gave me terrible odds for pregnancy and survival, so I had my tubes tied. But in 2015 I was faced with severe gynecological issues. I was in and out of the hospital for constant pain and excessive bleeding. I was weak and couldn’t think clearly from losing too much blood, and nothing was helping my pain. The solution to these problems was a hysterectomy.

So on my 32nd birthday, I went in for surgery, praying that this was the final step to my healing. It brought on stress, emotions, and a lot of fear. I had feelings of loss: the loss of my own child, of the experience of carrying that child, and from not being able to give my future husband his baby. But my tears were also private and I didn’t publicly share my sadness.

Everyone knew my struggles with health, so it was understood that not carrying a baby was the tradeoff to be healthy. I also found myself looking at couples and worrying I would never have that love. I was scared that a man would look at me and choose someone else, because he would think I was somehow less of a woman, that I wasn’t complete, or that I
wasn’t enough. Over time, with therapy and love from friends, these fears went away and I realized I would never want a man who would think less of me because of anything to do with my health.

As women, I think it’s normal that most of us want the experience of carrying a child and being a “mom,” but everything comes with a cost. My cost could’ve been my life or the life of my child, and that outweighed any benefits. I didn’t choose Lupus, or to have the issues that resulted in a hysterectomy, but sometimes in life you just get dealt a shitty hand, and you don’t let it define you.

At almost 34, I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do know that I’m at peace with the decisions I’ve made regarding my health. I came to terms with my fears and sadness. I stopped thinking of the possibilities of a future that may or may not include kids. I stopped because at this point, I’m not even sure I want them, and that’s totally okay.

Because the truth is, maybe we aren’t all meant to be a “normal” mom. Some of us choose not to be, and some of us can’t be. But we can be the ultimate aunties, godmothers, friends and dogmoms, whose love is unconditional.

So when I say I can’t have kids, I don’t want pity. Don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t narrow your brows and slightly frown while the wheels spin in your head on how you think of what to say because you think the wrong words will make me cry. I made a choice that saved me. I chose my health and my life. I chose to not put a baby’s life or mine, at risk with a pregnancy. I chose to be present for myself, my future husband, my family, friends, and dogs. I chose to have a future. But most importantly, I chose to survive. TC mark

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