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.

16 Comments

  • Mary Beth says:

    Beautiful! Your kids are lucky to have such a strong and loving Mama Bear!

  • Jennifer says:

    My dad has AS so I have known of it since I can remember. I never expected to be diagnosed with it as well, but I was last year. I did test positive for the gene. I have 3 siblings and none of them have been diagnosed. I hope I am the only one.

    I had my kids before my diagnosis as well. AS wouldn’t have prevented me from having children, but given my health now, we have chosen not to have more babies.

    My girls also help me through the days — good and bad. My oldest, at only 7, has always been independent and capable, sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes not. It does help that she can help take care of her little sister when I am not doing well.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Sandy Gale says:

    Mandy,
    Of course you have amazing and strong children!…b/c both you and Mark are amazing and strong in SO many ways!…and yes, they both have more than just those qualities of you! 🙂

    Love ya,
    Stand tall and stay positive & strong!
    Sandy

    • admin says:

      Sandy – as my oldest and dearest friend (over 28 yrs of friendship), your words and constant support mean so much to me! I’m so blessed to have you in my life! You have seen me through my many years of health battles and even at a young age you were my cheerleader, standing by me, keeping a smile on my face. Thank you for always roller skating with one skate and sharing the other with me…ha ha! LOVE YOU!!! xoxo

  • Ali Rodrigue says:

    May God Bless You and Heal you and be there for you, Mark and your sweet children! Your strength is inspiring 🙂

  • Rich says:

    At the time when I was diagnosed with AS, my mom was right there along side me fighting this each and everyday. She passed away 2 years ago and I know and feel that today she is with me every day in my battle with AS, she is most definitely my guardian angel in my fight. My the good Lord Bless and keep us all

    Rich

    • admin says:

      Rich – I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. I truly believe it is always comforting knowing we have someone up above on our side 🙂 Wishing you a pain-free day!

  • AS Warrior's Daughter says:

    I wish you hope and peace all you AS Warriors. Yes, Ia gree, the genetics issues do weigh heavily on the soul.

    My dad had AS. He was afflicted severely with it. It started in 1966 or so ( I was six years old) and then he died in 2009. He was an honored professional and I am sure he inspired many people as he was unusually intelligent and skillful at his work. He struggled intensely, especially at the end.

    Now that my dad has died you would think I would feel relief that my dad’s pain is gone. Sigh! My heart is not at ease. I am trying to find peace… for myself.

    It seems that my son has had some symptoms …and we’ve visited some docs…and it is not easy to say whether his symptoms were as a result of his accident or whether they are AS related. Docs do not agree …we have seen several docs…

    I have never met anyone who suffered from AS in my whole life other than my dad. I have never met a daughter or a son of an “AS Warrior”. It was so good to come here and to be able to reach out to this community. Maybe we can help each other get through this.

    AS is evil. We need to make sure that the money raised for the research is used for research. We need a renewed and heightened effort to cure AS.

    Wish you peace and love,
    AS Warrior’s daughter

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Please know that it is vital for you to never give up finding an answer for your son’s symptoms. Many of us with AS and other autoimmune disorders have been misdiagnosed a few times before we got the correct diagnosis. I’m glad that you found comfort in our AS community. I wish you and your son all the best!

  • Mosaic says:

    My husband was diagnosed after we had our baby.She has the gene , tested a month ago.The doctors say it doesnt mean she will have it too but I am so worried. I read somewhere that it skips a generation, is it true ?

    Wishing you all peace and good luck !

    • admin says:

      Thank you so much for your well wishes. I actually have heard that also. I did recently find out my mother has the gene but, she does not have AS. She unfortunately does live with another autoimmune disorder. Wishing you, your husband and your daughter all the best!

  • Krista says:

    Thank you for this post. I am a momma of 6 children and I have AS. Life can be so hard and overwhelming at times. I was given the definitive diagnosis after we brought 2 of our children home from Ethiopia. I would not trade any of them. I hate how much this disease can affect our spouses, children, family and friends but I am seeing the compassion that my children and others are gaining as a result of it. Thank you for your honesty. I have been greatly encouraged reading your posts.
    -Krista

  • Julie says:

    Krista! You’re amazing- a mother of 6! I was diagnosed with AS nearly 10 years ago and 3 months ago I gave birth to my healthy baby girl. I have grade 3 sacroilliitis and didn’t know how I’d cope with the whole pregnancy without my anti-inflammatories. I found research showing that NSAIDS can also make it hard to get pregnant so i had come right off them well before actual conception. I would have loved to talk to a woman who has done this 6 times! Somehow I coped with the support of my husband and family but my new challenge is lifting her without creating a new flare-up of back pain. It affects my other joints but not as severely as those sacro’s! 9 months of morning sickness didn’t help the situation but I was so lucky to have a natural delivery with the help of an epidural. I think a lot about the future and if we’re lucky enough to conceive again, I wonder how I’ll be while pregnant and running after or lifting my little one at the same time? And how you did this with 6? Wow! What an inspiration. I pray that my little one doesn’t have this condition. We’ve taken our chances. I’m just so thrilled to see women telling their stories on this website because I haven’t found anyone else in my everyday life in this predicament- except my brother. Thanks for the hope and support xx

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