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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Children and Fibromyalgia.... Controversy!

I love children, especially my nephews. They're awesome, and my life has taken a turn for the best having them in my life. They're bright rays of sunshine in any amount of darkness, even the worst days I have are brightened by just thinking of them.

I've always wanted to have a little girl (of course a little boy would be great too), teach her everything I know, empower her, make sure she has high self esteem, teach her Yoga and meditation, dress her up in cute velvet dresses!! I want to have the same relationship with her that I do with my Mom, as that is the most special relationship in my life. I want to protect my daughter, entertain her, and give her strong faith and spirituality so that during the darkest times, she knows where to find the light. I want to teach her games and read her all the books she likes. I want to keep her healthy, feed her right, exercise her right.. you know, just keep her safe in every way. I have names picked out, and my favorites are: Evelyn, Maria Louisa, Wilhelmina (Mina), Emma, Rose, Ruby, Penelope, Marie-Neige (Neige is "snow" in French), Athena, and Serenity. *Sigh*! I would be open with her, and hope she could talk to me as openly as I do with my Mom.. And I would want her to look at me as a mom, friend, and guide through this beautiful and terrible world. I'd also make sure to show her the horrors of the world slowly, desensitize her from it so she's not too fragile.. make her strong mentally and get her into self defense.. but I would emphasize the fact that the world is more beautiful and wonderful than it is terrible and horrible. But we must always be prepared and not ignorant. Ooooh I would cook with her, teach her how to crochet, sew, knit; I'd teach her all I knew about computers, too!! I'd teach her how to read Tarot!

(If I have boys, I have also picked names during the years!! Thomas, Armand, Kenneth, Xander, Oliver, Julian, Leonard, Malcolm, and Timothy/Timmy..)

Just thinking about it excited me to my core, and makes me think I would be able to do it - no matter what shit symptoms my fibro was throwing at me. I see my Sister in Law and my Mother, two great mother role-models.. both of them go through sometimes crazy circumstances (pain, cancer, being away from family, working), but are successful Mothers. Forces of nature, like water eroding huge mountains - and those mountains are Kids! So much to do, every minute of every day.

But is it fair to my child, me being so sick sometimes? Can I be selfish enough to try and have kids? I'm not the only fibrofolk with that controversial thought. Right now as it stands, here are some limitations I can foresee as being critical, opposed by a solution. I am writing this to people in a similar situation.. people that have fibro and wonder if they "can" or "should".

1. Many fibro folks have meds that they can't drive whilst taking (I hallucinate AND take the meds, so I can't drive): Taxis! Don't have the money? Find someone who will drive for less, a family member, or someone who will drive in exchange for another service (haha, very funny).

2. Pain Points are easily triggered by kids: painkillers can be taken after nursing is complete. The TENS machine can help by leaps and bounds if you know how to use it correctly. Otherwise, you're going to have to toughen up to the point of sainthood. Possible. Although I've never ever gotten mad at my nephews for hurting me, they don't know what they're doing! They don't know how much it hurts.

3. Stress makes fibro worse: plan around this with those around you. Make sure the father isn't a spazz that has the patience of a 2 year old, make sure he's supportive, educated in your issues, and that you've known him for enough time to make this conclusion. Make sure your finances are in order before you conceive, including life insurance, education funds, retirement plans, etc. Make sure the home is totally prepared for baby, everything is uber-organized, as this reduces stress. Make sure everyone around you is aware of your schedule, including a nap if that' s at all possible. Etc. Make sure you have friends that are supportive of you as well (ie, don't call you drunk in the middle of the night, or show up unannounced) - I would get rid of anyone who hinders your efforts as a mother. With Fibro, anything that causes you undue stress must be removed. Good friends and family will de-stress you for the most part!!

4. You'd have to get off painkillers, some of my other meds, for a while before and during preggerness - no way around this that I can tell. Some medications you take can be taken during the pregnancy. Talking to your doc or pharmacist may put you into a panic attack, so relax and make sure you've taken your anti-anxiety pills before you hear what you'll have to get off, and for how long. I made the mistake of asking during a stressful time.. lol. Oh, and be sitting down. ;)

5. I sometimes need naps at inconvenient times - not sure what to do here. I would probably neglect housework and live in a messy place and put 100% of my attn. on kids. I would say "screw you" to anything else that must be done, and sleep when the kid/s sleep. If anyone would have a problem with that, they're not the right partner for someone as challenged as a fibrofolk.

6. Single Mom - what if the father were to leave me? or I would have to leave him due to abuse or dead-beatness? Normal-Health single moms have enough Hell without illnesses. The only thing I can suggest here is that you get to know your man/partner as much as possible. Don't rush into baby making. Also, get several opinions on this partner (male or female, sorry if I've been sexist here), and don't even consider baby making until you've seen them:
a) Mad/Frustrated - will they hit things, get violent?
b) With Children, at least for a whole day or overnight.
c) Depressed, apathetic - will they still take care of you and baby?
d) With their mother or mother figure - says a lot about someone.
e) With you during a bad pain/fatigue day - you want to see how they'll react to you feeling like crap.

7. Fibro-Fog and child rearing: Fibrofog is basically like temporary retardation, no kidding. You are slower witted, hung over, and generally your brain is not working very well at all. Anyways, what happens when you have a bad case of it and you need to make smart decisions? Well first of all, you have to keep trying different medications until you find the right combination. The TENS machine helps fibro fog, as does circulation therapy, proper hydration, proper supplementation of the diet, proper diet - and getting an allergy test done (some allergies bring on the fog). No alcohol! No Pot! No drugs except the ones you are prescribed, and less fog will overcome you! Be prepared, have a digital assistant if you can (PDA) with all the notes you need, or a tape-recorder with several messages to help you. Proper sleep helps, but that is not always possible. Also, stay away from Aspartame, MSG, and foods that have ingredients that need a scientist to interpret. . Stay away from strong chemical fumes such as cleaners, tar, etc - as that can trigger a fog session.

8.) What happens when the pain is too much? Well, there's not much you can do other than take your pain meds on time, take a warm bath in the morning and evening, use a TENS machine, pain relief creams, get regular massages if that helps, etc. You are going to need a support system of SEVERAL people. Don't live in the middle of no where with no friends or family to help you, and make sure your partner knows what to do. Is it ethical to rely on so many other people? That depends, some people WANT to help you.. but if the people don't want to help, well that is the issue. So make your support base BEFORE you think of having a child.

9.) What happens if my disease is passed onto my child? Fibro is NOT proven to be a genetic disorder, however many still stick to their opinion that it is. My grandmother has fibromyalgia, but my father and the rest of her children do not. Same with her other grandchildren, all clean of fibro thus far. So why chance it? Well, everyone has some thing they can pass on, whether it be heart problems, lung issues, a long history of mental illness or breast cancer or high blood pressure or MS, etc. If all of us who have something horrible in our genes did not have kids-there would be no kids!! And our lives would be horribly empty. Think instead of all the positive traits you have to pass on. I'm intelligent, compassionate, spiritual, helpful, curious, a problem solver.. etc etc. I would like more people like me on this planet. What about you? Aren't there many good things about you that you'd like to propagate. Also, if your child gets your disease, you know how to stop it from escalating, you know how to get it diagnosed, you know how to treat it. They don't have to go through the years of mystery diagnosis, medicines you didn't have to take, operations you didn't have to have.. Yeah it's not 100% justifiable.. but like I said, if we all had to be perfect in order to procreate, well then we'd be screwed as a species.

Now for the CORE of what I think is the real question.

Extreme Fibro Fatigue (CFS): In my inner fight, this is one of the most valid points against having kids when you have FMS/CFS. This is what I have the most trouble with, it's not the pain - it is the fatigue. You can do more about pain than fatigue. Children need plenty of energy from mothers. They need you to exercise with them, run around, play a lot, and generally explore the world. They can't do that if their mother is immobile most of the time. They deserve energy and ability - not fatigue and disability. That is my opinion, again.

Personally, I have set myself a plan. I will give myself some time to get better. I will continue trying all the treatments I can, including the treatments for my fibroids and endometriosis that I've been doing for years. If I am better for a full year in the future, with the right support base (including partner.. lol) - to the point where I can work and clean house without being too tired and pained - I will be able to have kids. I was once like that, and I have faith that I will be like that again.

If I don't get better, well - I will not let that ruin my life. I will live my life on the alternate path and be just as happy. I don't believe that I should sentence myself to a life of sorrow if I can't have them. I can travel, paint, write, get dogs etc. I know women who have lived rich lives without kids.

What if the partner I'm with in this childless future absolutely wants to have kids and I can't? Well, I won't stand in the way of them having kids, I'd let them go! It would hurt (depending on how long I'd known them), I'm sure - but I'm not the kind of person to stand in the way of one person's set destiny. By destiny I mean what they have set out for themselves - you know "I want to be a lawyer, have kids, and have a cottage in Southern Ontario" or "I want to be a published author and visit Paris" or "I want to be a soldier and have ten kids back home." Whatever you choose for yourself and can't do without, that's your personal destiny. What if you are in the same situation but don't want to let your husband/wife go? Well you don't have to! It's up to you and your husband/wife!! I'm just thinking about this since a great deal of the men whom want to have children, and it's non negotiable. Now that I'm getting closer to 30, I want to think about all this so that I can have a firm opinion, in order to prepare myself. I want to know what I think so others know what I think. Lol.. I am so tired, and making next to no sense. It's a hard day today, hence me writing instead of doing anything.

There is what I'm thinking about lately. Why? Well my 26th Birthday, my nephews, something my doctor said, and my hormones are really making me think about my future. I'm getting older and I need to start seriously considering what I want to do with my life, I can't just let things happen on their own.. that's like riding an unbroken horse, blindfolded. I like to take that blindfold off by questioning, and breaking in the horse with contemplation. You also make a map of life through planning, I think. Less people get hurt, including yourself.

Okay, enough seriousness! I like to keep this in perspective and see how much time I have.. I'm so relatively young.