I remember sobbing when Max was in the throws of meconium ileus and genetic tests and the whole whirlwind of hospitalization. Sometimes I was crying for my son, but I also found myself crying for the future children I so desperately wanted. I came from a large family, two brothers and two sisters and almost a dozen nieces and nephews. I definitely wanted more children. Max's diagnosis was devastating, but it was a gift that kept on giving. Not only was a left with a child with CF, but all future children would also have the possibility of having CF. After my feelings about Max's diagnosis started to reach an equilibrium, my morning process over future children started.
As my husband watched some mindless TV show, I started perusing the Internet for some advice. I don't know what I was looking for exactly. No, I take that back. I wanted to find the answer. I wanted someone to say, "Sure, have another child. You should go on with your plans as if you never knew about CF at all." Well, that wasn't realistic, so I went looking for something that I could use to convince myself and my husband. What I really wish someone had told me was that I already knew the answer, I just didn't want to listen. I don't know why I thought some stranger could give me better insight to this extremely personal question and why I decided to turn off my internal voice. It was a "duh" moment that caused me much pain and undeserving feelings of guilt.
After typing something like "second child with CF" in my search engine, I quickly found a plethora of posts, advice, and opinions on the subject of having a second child knowing that you are a CF carrier. Wow, jackpot! I was smart enough to use this information in a completely logical and rational manner to deduce the solution to my question. Right. What I found was harsh criticism for even the thought of bringing another life into this world. I read point of views that ranged from "I would never have another biological child" to "I did roll the dice and now I have two kids with CF and my life is miserable". It was extremely discouraging and surprisingly unsupportive. Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinions and I believe everyone has the right to choose their own path, but calling someone inhumane for wanting another biological child was not the type of advice I was seeking. Why did I even care what these strangers had to say? In retrospect, I was looking for approval. As I said, deep down, I already knew what I wanted to do. I wanted a second biological child. I wanted to be pregnant again and I wanted a second chance for a healthy baby. I wanted to hear that if I chose to have a second child, knowing the risks, that I was not a bad person.
Of course, I never posted on any online forum soliciting the advice of strangers. There were plenty of poor souls who did that for me. I just perused the battlefields of the posts where such a dichotomy of opinions seemed impossible and exceptionally heated. I'm also one who shies from conflict, so despite my strong feelings about the subject, I will only post my response here in the safety of my own blog. If I were to ever respond to those who are seeking the same type of advice or reassurance as I was 2 years ago I would write something like this:
Listen to your heart. If you are asking this question, then you probably already know the answer. Whether you decide to do PGD, adoption, rolling the dice and doing it Au natural, or opting not to have any other children, you are not a bad person. Your decision is yours and your spouses and no one can tell you what is the right thing to do, especially some stranger who doesn't share your same religious views, morals or basic beliefs. You already know what's right for you and that is all the matters. Just follow the direction your heart takes you and you will never regret it.