Many of us with Ankylosing Spondylitis either have children, or dream of one day starting a family. I’ve met several women with AS that ask if I had any issues during my pregnancies. They share their many concerns on moving forward with planning their own family. Although, I was not diagnosed until after I had my children it makes me wonder if I would of had my two kids since I’d be possibly risking their future health? It may sound selfish but, I can say that I wouldn’t change a thing after realizing how strong they both are and how much better the world is because they are in it. Without Alexandra and Mark, I would of never realized how much love my heart could hold and give.
When I was diagnosed I asked if my children will have AS in their future agenda. My doctor told me they could very well have the gene but in no way does that mean they will ever have Ankylosing Spondylitis. There is a higher chance of course, but not a definite. This continues to weigh heavily in my mind. The last thing I would ever want to do is make them experience the pain of AS. To know that I may one day have passed on this “gift” to them is heart breaking. I openly admit I’m a bit of a Mama Bear when it comes to my kids and can be a little overprotective. When I was blessed with two healthy, energetic children I vowed I would do all I can to protect them from any pain emotionally and physically.
When I see them smile, here their giggles and see so much of myself in each of them I know battling AS is a fight I will always face head on. The days when I barely have enough energy to get out of bed and my sweet boy climbs up next to me and asks if he could gently snuggle melts my heart and helps to keep pushing me forward. His vibrant, caring personality shows me that although I don’t feel I’m giving 100% to them, I sure am doing something right. I’ve noticed my daughter helping out more without me asking which if you have a pre-teen (lovingly labeled tween), you would realize this is an amazing feat. She is taking charge on the bad days and loving it! Her no-nonsense, curious and strong-willed personality is something that amazes me daily. I’ve known for quite some time how strong we as AS’ers are, but now realize we are not battling alone. Our children and loved ones are silently battling along with us. They may not have the debilitating pain, but they can see us and they are just as strong and should be commended for this fact. I don’t think I give my kids enough credit. I end up feeling upset because I’m at a loss for energy or in too much pain to play with them but in the end they know Mommy loves them. They may not get the full depth of AS but they understand what to do and how to be compassionate on my bad days. My children are the beautiful smile I need on a rainy day.