‘My Chronic Illness Made Me Question Whether I’d Ever Have Children’

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‘My Chronic Illness Made Me Question Whether I’d Ever Have Children’

Crohn’s disease can threaten fertility.

“It’s honestly kind of fun having to go to the bathroom a million times a day right now,” I remember saying to my husband.

I was 12 weeks pregnant at the time. As my uterus grew and my bladder seemed to shrink, I didn’t mind peeing ’round the clock. That’s because, for the past 26 years of my life, I’ve been running to the bathroom for very different reasons.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease—an inflammatory bowel disease characterized largely by intense stomach cramping, diarrhea, and frequent “urgency” (a.k.a. “I need a bathroom right this second”) when I was 7 years old.

Since then, it’s been 26 years of unpredictability, 26 years of wondering if this disease will ever be cured, and 26 years of trial and error with various medications, supplements, diets, and lifestyles.

It has also meant that, for 26 years, I had no idea whether I’d ever become a mother.

MY PEDIATRIC GASTROENTEROLOGIST WAS THE FIRST ONE TO TELL ME THAT I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO GET PREGNANT BECAUSE OF CROHN’S.

Back then, that news didn’t really affect me—all I cared about was spending less time in the bathroom and more time at dance class.

“How could I have a child when I couldn’t even take care of myself?”

Honestly, for most of my life, my Crohn’s and flares weren’t all that dramatic and usually quickly went away with a dose of the steroid Prednisone.

But when I went away to college, I started having major flares. My Crohn’s seemed relentless; I spent many dark days convinced I’d never be stronger than this disease.

Read on: ‘My Chronic Illness Made Me Question Whether I’d Ever Have Children’

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