Tonight’s subject is a bit of a touchy one. I have been wanting to write about this for a little while, and after a couple of glasses of wine, inhibition have flown out the window, allowing me to write about a bit of a taboo subject.
I am constantly asked one of two questions. “Are you going to have more kids?” or “You aren’t having anymore kids…are you??“
My answer is always the same: While I feel like my body has the ability to have one more child (and I would love to have another child, especially another little girl) My husband and I have enough factors against us to not have any more.
My husband and I had always decided to have a big family. Hollywood effected us a bit in this department due to the movie Cheaper by the Dozen. While we knew that no way in hell were we going to have twelve kids, we agreed (for a while) that seven was going to our magic number. This was taking into account “whoops” babies, and the high possibility of twins.
Our first child was planned, although he came along a lot faster than we intended. We were expecting to by trying to conceive for a while….it only took about two months of some-what trying (not exactly trying, but not exactly stopping it either) A few false negative home pregnancy tests left us shocked at our first ultrasound when I was seven week further along in pregnancy than we thought. Though, we were excited. We had recently bought our first home together and were ready to start a family.
But then I fell pregnant again six months later (whilst I was on the pill)….then amazingly, I fell pregnant within seven weeks of giving birth to my daughter! Just a year after giving birth to my middle son, I fell pregnant again (and again, while on the pill!)
Four single births in four years is a damn good effort!! But this is not the reason why my husband and I have decided not to continue on to our goal of seven children.
As you all know, my eldest two have significant development delay. It is something that seems to run in my family, with other family members that have had development issues as well. But most significantly, our youngest son has cystic fibrosis. If you have listened to me ramble on enough, you would know it is a genetic condition that has to come from both parents. This is the main (and its a very big one!) reason why we aren’t having any more children.
We have had such a good run with my youngest son.After he was diagnosed, I was expecting to be constantly in and out of hospital. We have been incredibly lucky to have only had two CF related hospitalizations (one other was due to a bad case of tonsillitis)
What if we aren’t so lucky with the next child? What if that child is very sickly and has a lower quality of life? Since two CF people aren’t meant to be in close proximity of each other due to a high risk of cross-contamination….what if the new baby (if it had CF) makes my youngest son even more sick. Since we have already had run-in’s with CF-super bugs, Pseudomonas, what if my youngest son makes the new baby very sick?
Development delay is so predominant in our little herd, what if the next baby has issues as well? That would be another strain on the family. To be constantly one step forward, two steps back. It’s hard enough already!
These are all very important factors my husband and I have discussed about a lot since my youngest was diagnosed. Please do not judge us, but we have decided that should I fall pregnant again (since contraception quite obviously doesn’t agree with me) we would undergo an amniocentesis( or whatever test they do for this sort of thing) and if test results come back positive for CF, we would terminate. I know it would be an exceptionally hard decision for my to make, and will create a lot of emotional turmoil….but it would be the best thing for our family in the long run.
However, we have been blessed with four children already. It was easy for us to be able to say “NO MORE” (even if my biological clock is still ticking for one more…I know it isn’t the right thing to do for us) It was our fourth child that was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition.
But what if it was your first child, or even your second…and you wanted more? Or if you met a new partner, who was also a carrier, and you wanted to have more children with that person? These are the people I feel for as they have so many emotional, and moral, questions to ask themselves.
To quote someone who I spoke with about this issue a while ago….the following questions are the sort of thing that come to mind (and I am just using CF as an example here. Any medical condition can be placed here):
*What are the issues of having more children with CF? (eg. financially, mentally/emotionally, physically) especially when there is a 1 in 4 chance. (Or if you have CF yourself, and your partner is a carrier, you have a 75% chance of having a CF child)
*Do you have kids knowingly that you risk creating a child that will suffer all its life?
*Do you conceive, then terminate if it is discovered it will have CF? Then does that diminish the value of life for those who already have CF?
* If you go through IVF and discard the embryos that have CF, does that make it any different to an abortion?
* If you already have CF and your partner is a carrier, will you be able to care for the child when you are sick? Do you take the chance knowing it will be a huge toll on your body (as a female with CF)? Do you have children knowing the risk that there is a chance you may die young?
There is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. The love for family can overcome all of these issues, but then again, it might be too much than you can deal with. Don’t ever feel pressured into such a big decision. It all comes down to what is best for YOUR family!!
I hope I have given you some food for thought.
This post is not about trying to stop people from having children, but more to bring attention to the thought process that plagues some people about extending their family when they know a medical condition is possible.
I know this is a bit of a controversial subject, as it touches on pregnancy terminations, so while comments are encouraged, I will delete any nasty ones!