A few years ago, we had a couple over for dinner - our college friend Susan and her husband Alex. Susan and I found ourselves chitchatting in the kitchen as dinner was cooking - talking about the trials of life with a chronic illness - hers being epilepsy, and mine being lupus. In fact, we were both at the same point in our lives regarding pregnancy - we both were mentally ready for kids, but our bodies weren't fully cooperating. Neither of us were sick, per se, but we were both on medications that prevented us from trying to get pregnant, and our levels of well being weren't quite what we wanted them to be to make the switch to another medication. After comparing notes about medications, limitations, and workarounds due to our chronic illnesses, in addition to the questions, concerns, and consequences of getting pregnant, given our high-risk situations, we both resigned ourselves that children might not be in the cards for either of us, although we certainly wanted them to be.
Fast forward less than 2 years later, and Susan and Alex returned to our house for dinner. Once again, Susan and I found ourselves in the same places in the kitchen, but this time, baby Deirdre was on my hip, and Susan's sweet baby Lily was in the next room playing with some toys. We remarked at how far we'd come - though we really didn't know how we'd gotten there - and that clearly, we'd never lost hope of the desire to live well enough to fulfill our personal goals of having children. How sweet it was to be standing there with baby in tow...the exhilarating feeling of having succeeded in what I thought was the impossible - to have a child of my own, despite lupus.
Fast forward just 2 more years - and not only is Miss Deirdre by my side, but now I have another little baby to love and to hold - what with the arrival of one baby Bernadette.
And the kicker? Susan, too, is expanding her family - due with another baby in January.
Pressing on, despite our chronic illnesses, wouldn't you say? Of course, what's cause for even more celebration is that we've both been able to keep our illnesses in check while raising our two little ladies. Not only have we survived motherhood once over without jeopardizing our health and wellness - we've enabled ourselves to have even more children. Of course, Susan and I will both tell you - there have been sacrifices, and adjustments, and compromises along the way - but obviously, we enjoyed the experience of motherhood (with a dash of chronic illness) enough to give it another go.
And how sweet it is the second time around!