I’VE ALWAYS KNOWN
From an early age, I always knew I wouldn’t have children… I wasn’t diagnosed with epilepsy until age 25, so there was no known logical reason for me to think that children wouldn’t be in my future. I remember drawing a particular picture of myself at a one day… kneeling down beside a grave site, with the name “Lily” written on the headstone. A bit morbid for a 14 year old, but who knows, maybe I had a child die in a past life or something. (Your guess is as good as mine.)
UNABLE TO RELATE
Other girls my age, talked about how they couldn’t wait to be a mom someday, they had names picked out and somehow had this image in their heads of what their children would look like – All planning on having the nuclear family model of 2.5 kids. I never felt these feelings of longing or made plans of my future children. I just knew somewhere deep down, that it wasn’t going to be a part of my life.
BUILDING A WALL
Once I was out of high school and entering adulthood, I began telling myself and others things like,”I don’t like kids.” “Ew, kids… no thanks!” “Why would I ever want kids!?” “Kids are too expensive.” You get the idea… The truth was that I was terrified of bringing children into this world and into an uncertain future.
At age 25, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy with generalized seizures. Having children was no longer an option in my eyes. Not only may my child(ren) have epilepsy, but it would only put a burden on my husband to care for multiple people with epilepsy and more of a burden on my body & health. It seemed too risky. Since I have more seizures when my hormones are elevated (Catamenial Epilepsy), I just couldn’t see how carrying a child for 9 months was safe – nor did I want to be on medication while carrying a child.
I’m now 35 (36 in two weeks), and all my body wants is a child. I can no longer lie to myself, my body, or those around me. Just like most things, kids are great sometimes – sometimes not so great – but that doesn’t mean I don’t like or want kids. Choosing not to have children, is one of the most difficult decisions, I’ve ever made, but I know it’s the best decision for me. I admire other women with epilepsy (and those without illnesses/disorders) that they are able to have children, without thinking about the risks or carrying on despite hardships. I’m not that person. I absolutely will not risk my health or the health of my child to fullfill some type of social expectation or want.
My grandmother has always told me,”Your wants won’t hurt you.” Meaning, you can want something for an eternity, and it will never physically hurt you. It’s mind over matter. In my mind, I’m choosing to accept my decision to live my best & healthiest life, without children. Owning my decision is so empowering, because it’s the right decision for me. Your decision and path may be different and that’s OK, but always stand in and speak your truth. We are all unique and have different gifts to offer to this world. I may not be a mother, but I’m a leader. I may not be a mother, but I’m an artist. I may not be a mother, but I’m courageous. I may not be a mother, but I have accepted and am at peace with it.
You can read this story and more on YOOCAN to learn more about life with disabilities.