Children





I was corresponding back and forth in the comments section of the Elizabeth Edwards post about selfishness, having children, not having children, going to enormous effort to have them. You could call me selfish for not having children. I was always afraid they'd have asthma, I was afraid I'd run out on them in a panic, that I would be selfish and not want to pay attention to them. I realized that I think strangers who've tried very hard (hormones, in vitro, etc.) are spoiled, but when my friends and family have taken this route, I'm very sympathetic. What does this mean except that I'm judgmental? Or maybe that I'm envious of celebrities who have been able to stop the clock, the way they've been successful in doing so much else. Both Wendy Wasserstein and Elizabeth Edwards had children late and both died of cancer. Connection? I don't know. I do know that both ovarian and breast cancer have been known as "the nun's disease." My sister has three children and has never had even a cancer scare. I don't have the BRCA gene, and I would bet neither does she. My mother has never had breast or ovarian cancer. She had two children and no more. Is there a part of me that wishes that I could have gone through all the body mechanics to have a child late in life? The truth is that I like options. I always want to feel that I could take up anything, marathon-running, or art or a new language, with my middle-aged chemo-addled brain and body. And you can always find role models. Take Grandma Moses, for example. I've always wanted to experience pregnancy and childbirth. When I come across an ad for a surrogate, I read it, and it takes me a second or two to realize that yes, though I am healthy (if you ignore the breast and blood cancer and asthma), I am not 35 years old any more.

12 comments:

Rick O'Shay said...

My mom had 7 children, first one at age 30, last at age 35.

At age 51 she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer at age 53 she died. BRCA testing hadn't yet been discovered. No family history.

I am 43 and I have metastatic breast cancer. No children. I don't have the BRCA gene.

It all comes down to A (adenine), G (guanine), C (cytosine) T (thymine), the chemical units of DNA. One hundred million or more DNA base pairs can be present in a single chromosome.

How did this breast cancer mistake creep into my double helix? What tripped up the proper sequencing? Red jelly beans? Stress? Reheating Chinese food in those plastic takeout containers? There are 6.5 billion people on Earth. How did I win the cancer lotto?

On the positive side, my mom had asthma and I don't.

Cancer Bitch said...

Wow. Those were a tough 5 years for your mom! I'm so sorry that she had ibc and that you have mets. I try to blame the military-industrial complex for everything I can.
C. Bitch

Rick O'Shay said...

My father died of bladder cancer at age 72. He did, in fact, blame the military industrial complex: He was an Atomic Veteran (Operation Tumbler Snapper as well as WW2 vet stationed in Japan.

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Alex Ford said...

being afraid of cancer or any other disease that a child can caught is not the right thing to support

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Not sure what this means: "being afraid of cancer or any other disease that a child can caught is not the right thing to support"
We have nothing to fear but fear itself--and that's a big thing to fear!

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