The decision when or if to become a parent is a highly personal one. Still, strangers seem to be OK with asking about it without pausing to think that maybe that’s not a question they should be asking of someone they’ve never met before.
As of yet, I do not have kids. I don’t know if I ever will. I go back and forth on this one. My PSA certainly has a huge impact on this, changing the language I use when I talk about the possibility of having children and the potential problems I see with raising them with the challenges I deal with day to day.
When I have a good day — I’ve slept well, my energy is up, my bones and muscles don’t ache and protest whether I move or keep still — I begin to think that yes, of course, I could have children. It would be difficult, sure, but my husband and I could certainly handle children. We’ve been through our fair share of challenges and come out the other side stronger for them. When I’m feeling well, I see all the wonderful possibilities children bring into people’s lives. When I’m feeling well, the difficulties children bring along with them don’t seem so hard to manage.
Sure, I know that raising kids isn’t easy, but on good days, I see kids and smile.
But on bad days, everything changes.
Take yesterday. Yesterday, it was hot — more than 90 degrees outside — and so, so humid. Yesterday, I had the worst bad day I’ve had in a long time, a combination of PSA flare and a migraine that just would not let go. I was quite literally brought to tears by the amount of pain I was in. On a day like that, how in the world would I handle taking care of a child? On a day when my hands were so swollen and achy picking up a glass of water was almost unbearable, how would I hold a toddler? On a day when my mind was foggy and my head exploding, how would I sooth an infant’s cries? On a day where sitting was painful, how would I keep up with an energetic 4-year-old?
On bad days, the realities of my condition hit me full force. Taking care of a cat and a dog can be hard enough when I’m not well; taking care of a child might be more than I am up for. Still, I know it can be done. People with PSA, migraines and all kinds of chronic conditions have raised children before. I’m sure I — we, my husband and I — would figure something out, some kind of way to make it work, if we decide having children is something we really want to do.
And though the idea of having kids fills me with all kinds of questions, the logistics of how it would work — would I have to stop working, would I be thrown into a flare after giving birth, would adoption be a better route for us — I know if we decide to have children, it’s something we will have to figure out. For now, I can enjoy other people’s children and take pleasure in the fact that I can simply give them back if I am no longer able to handle them.