Person shutting off the light on idea of having children with empty crib and portrait of sad frog on the wall.

Not So Motherhood

Over the course of my life, I’ve noticed changes to myself that - frankly - I’ve ignored. These are changes due to my cystic fibrosis that I chose to place on a back burner and not think about until I had to come to reality with it.

Wanting to have a child

My body is not what I wish it to be, and it’s not where I hoped it would be. When I got married in 2012, I was a new bride brimming with promise and hopes for the future. Like many newly married couples, my husband and I hoped for children, and I was excited.

When we finally decided to try, we came to a reality that this was not going to be easy for us. After two years of trying, I went to the doctor. They told me that my lung function would decrease with pregnancy and my body could not handle a baby. I could not get pregnant.

Experiencing guilt and jealousy

I was devastated and I went into a depression. I cried myself to sleep for a really long time. I felt guilty that I wasn’t a “normal” woman for my husband. My husband married me and I felt guilty that I could never give him a child. I felt like a let down to myself as a woman for not being able to have a child due to my cystic fibrosis. CF took this from me, and I hated myself for a bit because of it. I hated my body.

I felt a piece of myself die when my sister and sister-in-law became pregnant. I wanted that to be me so badly. I had to talk to my husband and tell him how I felt. I said, “I’m sorry.”

My husband comforted me and told me that even if we never had children, what was important was “us” and making sure I was healthy. I needed to be the best I could for my nieces and nephews. I had put pressure on myself to have a baby. However, his support lifted so much pressure off my shoulders.

Coming to terms with not having a child

I still didn’t listen, and I asked my sister if I could babysit my baby nephew. While I was carrying him, I almost passed out due to a lack of oxygen. Luckily, my husband caught us. That experience was my wake up call.

It’s okay not to be able to have a baby. I finally understood that my cystic fibrosis is a factor in my life that I need to consider more and that I cannot have a child on my own. We could adopt, and we could use a surrogate, but I realized that I am okay with not being a mother. I am a wonderful aunt to my nieces and nephews, and I am pet-mom. Once I took that pressure off myself, I could breathe easier.

CF impacted my body, and I needed to be okay with how CF has evolved my physical being. Mentally, I am more than my CF, and physically my CF is present every day. While I’d love to be a mother, I’m also - for the first time in my life - okay with the fact that I’m not.

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