Dreams, Fears, Hopes

A Future With Children

I want children — eventually. I’ve known that for a long time. You might already know that from previous posts or not. But you do now. I posted my thoughts about motherhood a while ago but my perspective has, of course, changed in two years. Not necessarily my decision whether to have children — that won’t — but the idea of being a mother gets simultaneously less and more frightening as I age. The fear isn’t entirely the huge responsibility of having children but how being disabled will come into play as they grow. How will I handle my children as infants needing to be cared for? Toddlers, once they begin walking, running and getting into everything? Feels so daunting. Probably because, at this point, that zone is still a huge unknown. Filled with more questions and uncertainties. I will certainly find answers, though maybe not in any particular order, as I navigate motherhood. Someday.

Nobody can doubt (least of all me) that I’ll need support in those early days as a mother. I won’t be able to walk and carry my baby without help. Or even pick up my baby without a system in place to make what at first glance appears to be a simple process both easy and safe for me and the child. There’s no way around that — just being realistic. Nothing to feel bad about, either. CP is part of the deal. So what can be done? I have no choice but to keep moving and try to stay positive about it. I’ll tackle those challenges as they arise but there’s no point trying to build bridges over rivers that haven’t even started to flow yet. Someday it’ll be necessary. Worrying about it now simply causes too much stress. Stressing about what’s not yet real is counterproductive. Easier said than done, of course. Especially for someone like me who obsessively plans as much as possible. I’ll have to make sure I have a supportive partner — someone on the same page and wants to be a father at least as much as me a mother. I like to think I’ve already found that person.

I have CP. It’s not going anywhere. It feels nearly impossible to acknowledge my limits but do the mom thing anyway. At least it seems that way. I’ve not let being disabled hold me back from huge life events — graduation, college, working — so why should I let it stop me from having children? Yes, having kids is likely in a whole different league than graduating college. Another story. Another challenge with its own unique journey. A really difficult one. So what? I’ve gone through difficult things — like SDR. I’m not saying those are even slightly similar. But they’re inescapably difficult, massive undertakings. Being a parent is a tremendous responsibility and, deep in my heart, I want to experience it. So I’ll hopefully make it happen.

Speaking of difficult things, I remember being an impressionable, insecure teenager worried about having sex. Whether I could even do it. If it’d hurt my legs. Totally reasonable things to worry about. Then, sex was another unknown — those are always scary as hell. Little did I know, sex is really only the beginning.

What do I mean by that? Say I start trying to get pregnant tomorrow (a hypothetical — just calm down and go with it). I try for a bit and it happens. That raises a whole set of other questions — some I can predict, most not even there until a day appears and the question comes with an answer I never imagined. How will the pregnancy impact my disabled body? Change it? Shape it? How much harder will it be to walk? Balance? What about my stamina? Pain tolerance — of course, after all these years, is very high but I honestly can’t imagine the aches and pains of pregnancy so will they feel like nothing by comparison or a whole new level? I can’t imagine trying to walk with my crutches in the later stages, either. I imagine I’ll probably be in a wheelchair for a while. I’ll honestly prefer that — it’s probably safer for me and the baby, in an experience that just starts with childbirth rather than ending there. I know who I am all too well. I’m anxious. I can see it now, losing my balance, slipping or accidentally getting knocked over. No thanks. I’m usually calm when I fall but falling while pregnant would mean I’d totally lose it — seriously panicking. It wouldn’t be pretty. So wheelchair, please.

I’m also likely to be put on bedrest. I might be wrong — I’m not technically an expert or a doctor but that’s a rant for another day.

Here I am talking about hypothetical pregnancy pains like I really know something about them or can imagine when I probably have no idea. Someday I’ll be able to look back at this moment and judge whether I was good, well-informed or just talking shit. This is just conjecture because it’s on my mind and I don’t want to deny it. Exploring the idea for the sake of blogging, writing. You get my point.

Moving from the pains of pregnancy obviously takes us to labor — pain I know I can’t imagine. I don’t want to go there but I will anyway. Remember that high pain-tolerance? It’ll definitely be put to the test during labor and its contractions. It seems so painful. Yikes! (Shoutout to all the moms and moms-to-be out there. You are heroes.)

As for me, I don’t think I can possibly deliver vaginally. I’m terrified of it — dislocating my hips or something, which isn’t exactly outside the realm of possibility given my body’s current state. My adductors are so tight, too, so the experience is likely far more painful than for someone without CP. No thanks! My doctor might opt for a c-section. I’m fine with that. Some people might say that makes me brave or whatever but I really don’t think I’m brave enough to go without one. Some constantly tell me not to be a hero — I’m finally starting to see their point. It isn’t somehow more or less brave to do it that way. That’s not what I’m saying. The entire journey is brave. Pregnancy. Labor. Childbirth. Motherhood.

Obviously, being a mother and having kids are deeply-personal choices, ones I made long ago. There are no right or wrong choices in this case. They’re the desire in your heart when you take the time to listen. Regardless of your choice, if it’s what you want, I salute you.