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When Are You Having a Baby?

No more than five minutes after my best friend decreed, “You may kiss the bride,” it happened. My little cousin ran up and exclaiming, “Great, you did it! When are you having a baby?!”

I laughed it off and told him we had pictures to take and cake to eat.

Other people’s timetables

The sweet-faced little boy whose videos I’ve shared over the years with classics ranging from “When are you getting married?!” to “I guess I’ll have to marry you,” moved his fixation to my now-married but empty womb. This kid has had a timetable for us and we were missing his deadlines left and right. But at least we finally got married. That should count for something, right?

Nope.

It’s deeply personal

I’m pretty sure his father put him up to it because he thought it was funny and cute coming from our resident marriage worrywart.

But here’s the thing. Fertility and chronic illness are deeply personal subjects. Many of us diagnosed in the early 2000s and before were given very little education on the topic. Yes, my little cousin’s father knows I have Crohn’s disease and he’s seen me struggle throughout the years. But I also think he doesn’t view me as someone with a chronic illness who is doing all too bad because my symptoms are often not in his face.

Personally, I know some people who are devastated each time they are asked this question. People ask it without much thought of what if the couple can’t, or is afraid, or has already suffered losses.

The IBD parenthood project

There is good news, though. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) launched the IBD Parenthood Project. This is so important for anyone with IBD who does not have access to a specialist. Their healthcare providers have an evidence-backed plan to follow for pregnancy in someone with IBD. There is also information for pre-conception planning as well.

Will we, or won’t we?

I feel like this is the million dollar question. My diagnosis came at the end of 2005 and I’ve had 14 years to come to terms with the possibility of not having children. I’m also realistic. I’m 37 years old and joke with my doctors that my eggs are older than dirt.

When I met my husband ten years ago (wow we are old), he would repeatedly say, “I’m never getting married again. I’m not having kids.” We got married last November, so obviously he’s come around. He’s also become more open to discussing having a tiny human of our own.

It’s a hard discussion to have with your partner, but I think it’s imperative. Yes, we met 10 years ago, but we lost touch for a few years. When we got back together in 2014, one of the first conversations I had with him was about what he used to say. I communicated how what he said bothered me a few years back, and he communicated why he said it.

In the months leading up to the wedding, I started the conversation with my medical team. I asked if there was any testing I need to get out of the way. The overwhelming response from everyone was, “Get you a colonoscopy,” and we’ll go from there. Labs were also run. While it was acknowledged that this is the most healthy they’ve had me at since 2012, they want to see those scope results and my treatment dose would get adjusted. As the saying goes, healthy mom leads to healthy baby.

Have a plan and actually follow through with it

I also reached out to friends who run IBD Moms. Their expertise in managing IBD and family planning was so valuable. Since then, I’ve created a little plan of action that is helping me stay accountable during this time of planning.

  1. Optimize biologic treatment. The frequency of dosing was increased to create a higher concentration of medication in my system.
  2. Book colonoscopy and check on the status of Crohn’s activity, as well as checking for polyps.
  3. Continue following lifestyle changes for better nutrition and more movement.
  4. Try to find a vitamin that will not make me sick.
  5. Get more time out in the sun to boost Vitamin D levels.
  6. Learn to meditate to help shed stress and anxiety.

I know these six steps are no guarantee that everything will work out. However, they help me feel a little control over the uncontrollable.

How do you handle uncomfortable questions like this?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    7 months ago

    Great tips. I’m not even married and I get asked about kids by family haha. I just don’t pay much attention. In my gut, I know I will be a mom someday so I just remain positive and say: “when it’s meant to happen, it will happen.”

    Thanks for the post!

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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