Monday, October 11, 2010

Thoughts about babies and motherhood

Now that I'm at the age where I would be having children if I were married sometimes it hurts to think about not being a mother. There are so many things that I'll never be able to do and experience due to being paralyzed, and this is one of them. Almost every system in a paralyzed person's body is compromised except your reproductive system, so although I could still technically have a baby, I no longer have the desire.

First of all, I physically can't take care of myself, let alone a baby, so if I did have a child people would have to take care of my child as well as myself. This would be even more work for my family, friends and caregivers. Secondly, I would never want a baby that I couldn't hold and take care of myself. It would be excruciatingly painful to witness, especially when the baby was old enough to prefer other people instead of me. I'll just have to wait for the day in my next life when I am able to have children.

Here's a list of some other things related to pregnancy, motherhood and babies that I'm disappointed that I'll never be able to experience:
  • Making the decision with my husband about how many children we want and deciding when it's time to start our family.
  • Finding out the exciting news that I'm pregnant and telling my husband and family.
  • Experiencing the changes that pregnancy bring to your body, both good and bad.
  • Feeling the baby move inside me.
  • Finding out the sex of the baby, whether I chose to have an ultrasound or wait for the delivery of the baby. (I don't know which I would choose because I think it would be so neat to wait until the delivery to find out the sex of the baby, but on the other hand, it would be so hard for me to be patient for nine months!)
  • Experiencing child birth. I know it sounds crazy, but I think I would want to try natural childbirth at least once simply for the fact that I would want to know what women have gone through for thousands of years. Of course I've never been in labor, but I think I could/would do it. :)
  • Experiencing that first mother/baby connection where your eyes meet and you realize that you've never loved anything more.
  • Choosing a name for the baby. Baby names are one of my favorite topics to talk about with people; I think it would be so fun to be able to name a child.
  • Being able to nurse my baby.
  • Having a child that resembles my husband or myself, or was a mixture of the two of us. I would really want a little girl that looked like me. :)
  • Being able to watch my child change and grow, develop and learn new things.
  • Being able to teach my child things. I think this would be so exciting to know that I was the one who helped them learn whatever the skill was.
I hesitate to share these tender feelings, because I never want to come across as a bitter person, or like I'm trying to get pity from others. And I don't want my readers to feel uncomfortable. However, these are normal, natural feelings that I have, so I feel like it's okay to acknowledge them and write about them. I want people to know that I'm still human, even though I'm usually outstandingly joyful.


Anonymous said...


I've so enjoyed reading your blog! I clicked on your comment over on 71toes and I'm very glad I did. :)

Your words have inspired me and uplifted me. I am your same age and reading your story has given me a different outlook on the challenges I experience in my own life. Thanks for your candidness and sharing your positive attitude with the world via your blog.

I was really touched by your mom's words in the hospital after your accident, that if you wanted to stay... she'd do her best to take care of you. She's really kept that promise. A mother's love is an amazing thing! Your story shows so well a turning of a mother's heart to her child and a turning of a child's heart to her mother.

Thanks again for sharing. :)

Matthew Smith said...

I know this is a really old post, but I actually know of high-level quads who have had children - at least two. One is a lady called Abigail Witchalls, who was paralysed when she was stabbed by a mentally ill man near her home in England a few years ago. It happened in a village quite near where I live. She had a 21-month-old son and was pregnant at the time. She was on a ventilator, I think, for some time afterwards and delivered her baby safely, and then since then has had another baby.

The other is the Christian singer Renee Bondi - she is a C4 complete following an accident in her bedroom when she was in her 20s. She married a year or so after and has had one son. I remember a video on the Joni and Friends site which explained how they make sure the boy knows who his mother is, such things as taking him to her when he falls over. She has a little bit of arm function but not enough to take care of him completely. I suspect they do the same for Abigail so she is able to be as involved as she possibly can be. It's your choice, but there are ways it can be done.

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