Babies, bags and biological clocks

I have never been an overly clucky person. I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a mum, but I never ruled it out of my life plan either. Now I am in my mid 30s … pushing 40. Is it too late? Now that I have Crohn’s disease and an ostomy, is it even an option?

Women are having babies later and later in life these days. Plenty of women have children in their late 30s and even 40s without any issues, but as you get older, the risk for complications increases. I also dislike the idea of being ‘old’ parents.

I have Crohn’s disease. I am in remission right now, but I could flare up while pregnant, or with a new born. Then what? With Crohn’s there are no certainties. The fear of passing Crohn’s disease onto my children has also crossed my mind more than once.

I have an ileostomy. There are thousands of women who’ve had babies with an ostomy, again many without any issues. An ostomy by no means rules out having children. However, it is another factor I have to consider. There are potentially additional complications that could come into play.

I’ve had post ostomy surgery gynaecological issues with my uterus that may cause additional problems and I know would mean I could not give birth naturally.

None of these are reasons NOT to have children. A young, healthy, non-Crohn’s, non-ostomate can still have complications. Even with complications, they say it is all worth it!

The bottom line is that we (my husband and I) are still so unsure.

We’ve had the baby conversation over and over. It goes around in circles. We’ve even discussed adoption. All the reasons we come up with for having children right now are not good reasons to try.  We both agree we are not ready. We love our lifestyle and know how much that would change if we had children. We want to travel more and do things we couldn’t do if children were in the picture. I know that sounds incredibly selfish, but it’s honest.

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I know there are many women who desperately want children but have not been able to for numerous reasons. That is heart-breaking, and incredibly sad and unfair.

In many ways I feel like I am 4 years behind where I should / might be at had it not been for Crohn’s. My life was literally put on hold for several years when I was too unwell to do the things I had planned to do (live out my life plan!). It was like living in limbo. Maybe I’m now trying to make up for that time. Or maybe that’s just an excuse.

I do not feel like a natural born mother. I don’t even know if I am able to conceive. Becoming parents is a privilege and a huge responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. Everyone says that as soon as you give birth, it is the most beautiful thing in the world and your life changes. I do not doubt that.

I hear friends who are mothers talking about their babies with such joy, about the blessing of motherhood. Am I a bad person for not wanting or at least not knowing if children are what I want? Is there something wrong with me? Will we be missing out on something if we don’t have children of our own? Will we regret it?

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We don’t have any pressure from family, and most of our friends have stopped asking! Yet somehow I still feel pressure. Maybe it’s pressure I put on myself, or worry that I know what a great dad Michael would be and not wanting him to miss out on that. This is his decision too!

How do you know? If we knew for certain in our hearts, wouldn’t it be less confusing? We wouldn’t even be questioning it, right? Or do you just do it and hope for the best? Hope that natural instinct kicks in and it is what you want?

Maybe in a year or 2 it will hit us and we will be ready. Maybe we won’t ever be ready. One of my biggest fears is that if / when we are finally ready, it might be too late.

It may mean additional difficulties, but I won’t let my age, Crohn’s or having an Ostomy stop me. They don’t have to. But surely, knowing if parenthood is what we want should stop us.

If we do eventually decide it is the right time and right thing, hopefully it won’t be too late for us. Otherwise Michael and I will grow old together happily just the two of us and have fur babies instead!

What are your thoughts on motherhood? Any stories to share on being a mum with Crohn’s or an ostomy?

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4 thoughts on “Babies, bags and biological clocks

  1. Hi Laura, it’s always good reading your posts. Having kids is definitely one of those big life choices. I developed UC after having twins and went through their first few years extremely exhausted, but I’m glad I did and I’m happy they are with us. Having family and friends support organized incase you do have a flare up with a new baby would help you manage. On the plus side by now you’ve probably got some supportive networks around you already and Mike sounds like he’d be the best support of all! If you do decide to have kids don’t let Chrohns worry you because you will find a way to make it work. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It’s great to hear that you are managing with UC and with twins at that! I know motherhood can be exhausting even without the added factor of IBD. I am sure a strong family and friend support network would definitely help, and yes Michael is top of that list for me! It is a big life choice, and I won’t let Crohn’s stop me if it is what we decide. Thank you for your honesty and I hope your UC is under control now. All the best to you, your family and the twins xx

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  2. “It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” – Hugh Laurie

    Hi Laura, sorry for the delay in keeping in touch. Marcus and I have struggled with the idea of being “ready” for kids. I kept putting it off for all the same reasons you’ve mentioned, thinking it would be better to wait, to be prepared, to do some of the things we should have done in the time we lost when I was sick. The only thing that matters is that if you see kids in your future, if you envisage a family of your own, or ever have (the fact you consider adopting to me says you do) then my advice is start the process now.

    Because from personal experience I’ll never be exactly “ready” but now that we have come around to the idea of kids (Marcus is 37 and I’m 33 this year) we’ve realised that things could take time, need expert help or IVF (which in itself we were not ready to accept and is quiet involved too).

    I think that if you see a family in your future or have grown up (and even now!) seeing/wanting what you had as a child (siblings and a strong family as mentors) then you should take steps now to get close to that. Even if it ends in failure or knowing where you stand. It’s better to know than to wait and miss out. I know someone who has cancer and a double mastectomy at age 33. She had her eggs taken and is now 37 and considering having kids, and most logically using IVF because realistically she would be better to use the 33 age eggs than her current eggs. Ahh go figure.

    A friend of mine (who was the least paternal person I know) gave me the above advice – about if you have imagined a family then that’s the only lead you need – and she is right. She now has three kids. She’s no different. She’s a great mum and is true to herself. She is just the same as always. She’s just got three great little versions of herself – who she will love and grow and shape – so they too get to make their mark on this world. I believe your kids would be the same; great versions of you learning how to be fearless in the face of any adversity they face. And if they have Crohns or anything else in life that will surely challenge them, then they will have a fantastic role model in you in order to face it.

    Marcus and I have had lots of tests recently and I’ll inbox you about them if it helps you be more informed. But know that you can still be you, you can still travel and do all of the things you and your hubby love doing; the beauty is that you’d also get to share all of that with someone else. Your family.

    Bec xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Bec! It’s lovely to hear from you. You always have the best quotes!

      It’s been really interesting getting feedback on this post and hearing all the different perspectives. It’s made me think even more about the whole thing! Your response in particular! I’ve actually been quite surprised by some of the comments, especially from my friends who are mums already and who I thought for sure would be telling me to just do it! Several have actually said the opposite, and talked a lot about the romanticized ideal of motherhood, this responsible thought process and even advising if there is any doubt, then don’t do it!

      I am very conscious that at my age and stage, the longer we leave it, the more difficult it would be, and yes, it could be a very long (and emotional) process. Although I talk a lot in my post about being ready, I think what I am really struggling with is knowing whether or not I actually want children at all.

      Family means the world to me. My parents, sister and niece are everything. It’s still a huge decision and life choice. I am sure we will work it out!

      Thank you as always for your comments and sharing Bec. I really hope everything works out for you and Marcus and starting a family of your own x

      Liked by 1 person

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