My Journey to Motherhood: A Mom with Cystic Fibrosis
All my life I knew I’d be unable to have children biologically, but I never saw that as an obstacle to becoming a mother. I knew from a fairly young age that I wanted children and I knew I would make it happen. I just wasn’t sure how.
My desire for motherhood
Maybe some people don’t think about becoming parents, it just happens or seems the next appropriate step in life. However, I started planning early for parenthood. Knowing my CF would only progress with age, I started worrying about whether I’d ever get to have a family or be healthy enough to run around with my future kids.
Since I couldn’t have children naturally, I had three options: adopt, surrogacy, or fostering. I knew adopting and surrogacy would cost more money than I could afford and I knew fostering would be challenging, especially with CF. Truthfully, I felt I would never find the right path. So, I continued working to pay off my college debt and doing everything I could to keep my health in the best shape. My hopes for a future family motivated me through my 20s.
Building my family
As luck (or fate) may have it, I ended up meeting my future husband 2 years later (age 27). I discussed children early on in our relationship to prepare Andrew, as my inability to have kids ended a few relationships in past. Andrew understood and said even if I could have kids biologically (some patients with CF can) that he wouldn’t want me to risk it. He had two adopted siblings and loved the idea of adopting and fostering.
We married 3 years after we met and started looking into options for kids right away. We still hadn’t decided what route to take yet. We started pursuing all the options. We called adoption centers, talked to others who went through surrogacy, and decided to sign up for foster classes. We knew very quickly into foster classes that it was what we going to do. Our hearts just kept leading us there and we couldn’t stop talking or thinking about fostering.
It's not easy
It’s been a roller coaster ride since. We have fostered for 2 years. We have had 4 long term placements and have done respite (short term care) half a dozen times or so. Our first placement was a sibling set of three kids. Boy, going from zero to three kids with specialized needs was… well ROUGH. But we fell in love instantly. Some foster parents warned us to not fall in love, but we don’t understand how not to. These kids need a home, to feel safe AND LOVED.
Every single kid we have met has taught us so much. Taught us about the world, the realities these kids face, and even taught us about ourselves. We still have one kiddo in our care currently, we have had him since 2017. We plan to foster more as we can. And yes, it can be very challenging, especially since I have cystic fibrosis. But I love how our life has unfolded and wouldn’t change any of it.
Motherhood with cystic fibrosis
And while fostering might not be the right choice for everyone, it’s the right fit for our family. It’s a complicated feeling though. Being happy to have kids in your home and loving them, but realizing at the same time you are a mom because someone wasn’t taking care of these children. That they were hurt, neglected, or unsafe. I try to think about how I can help them in this time of need. Seeing them thrive, learn, feel safe, smile, and giving a hug - these moments outweigh the challenging ones.
I do worry about how my CF will affect our kids, but it keeps me motivated and all of our children have accepted it and I think it has helped them bond with me in some aspects. Having CF and fostering do impact each other, but that’s a story for another time. However, it’s one way I’m thankful for CF.
If I didn’t have CF, would I have still fostered? I’d like to say yes… but I can’t be certain. I’m thankful my life led me to fostering. I’m glad for my family (all our kids included). Families are all unique and created differently. Becoming a parent isn’t for everyone, but for those who want a family, just keep at it. You never know how things might turn out.
Are you a parent with CF?
Which snacks from this week's article are you most excited to try?