By: Gracie Doran, IATG ContributorAugust 24, 2016
When you live your life with a chronic illness, there are all kinds of fear.
Fear for my next MRI and what it may disclose. Fear of more brain surgeries. Fear of an inoperable growth rupturing or having another stroke.
Like most girls my age, I have fears. Will I do well in college? Will I find love someday? Will people accept me for who I am? I'm hesitant to admit my biggest fear, because once it’s out there, I have to admit that it’s true.
My fear is something I will have to face in the future.
My fear is having a child. Not because I don't want to be a mother. Nothing makes me happier than a child’s laugh or when I’m playing with my baby cousins or my sixth month old niece. I love children. The only thing that scares me about becoming a mother is what's genetically hidden inside of me.
I have a disease that has affected me my whole life, a condition that has a fifty percent chance of being transferred to my child. So you see, I want a child someday, but there’s a fear holding me back. As a mom, I don’t want to have to worry that my child will relive my illness. I’m also scared about what a pregnancy might do to me. It can worsen my condition, or it could go smoothly and not affect me at all. My disease is hereditary, and people who carry it in my family have had children before, so I do have some hope.
I can't have a natural birth, because it creates a high risk of seizure or stroke. I know that I’ll have to have a c-section. I feel like it's so selfish of me to say that I don't want a child, because it could kill me. I know I can ultimately adopt, and I would love any child that I’d be blessed with. To be honest, I'm conflicted. This part of my fear can go both ways. I'm also scared, because I don't know if someday my husband will accept that I have this disease. He will have to take care of me in ways most men don’t sign up for.
I know this won’t be my reality or decision for some time, but I know that when I get serious dating someone, I’ll have to disclose this. Hopefully, this person will understand. I know that someday I will have to face the inevitable. I just hope that I’ll be ready.
Sometimes we are faced with challenges beyond our control. We can choose how to response and continue to move forward. It may not always be easy, and we might not feel prepared. What's things in your life scare you that are beyond your control? What do you do to cope with them?
Gracie has been a competitive dancer since age 7, dancing and training 10 hours a week. Then she had a stroke that paralyzed her. Using her training and determination she was able to learn to walk, talk and eat again. Then, she started to dance again. She has been able to dance in front of thousands of people and has won many awards and recognition for my work.