Growing up, I decided that marriage and kids were not my thing. Who in their right mind would want to be tied down and risk giving their hearts to people who could eventually drop them like a bad habit? At the ripe age of 18, the whole thing was too much for my mind to understand. I had made up my mind that those two things would NOT be a part of my future life.
As I now know, the thoughts of a young lady can change as she exposes herself to what love can be. In my case, I stumbled upon a man who made me laugh and who became my friend and my partner in crime before he ever became the love of my life. We grew to love one another and my idea of life started to quickly change. All of a sudden, I found myself dreaming up our happily ever after. I dreamed up our perfect wedding, our perfect house and of course, our perfect children.
Before I knew it, at least one of those things was falling into place. We married on a beautiful golf course with our loved ones all gathered around us. After being married for a few months, we decided to move our family back to my home state. Not long after making the move, we found out we were expecting our first child. Those thoughts of no marriage and children were now nothing but silly ideas that had been disproven by the love I had found.
The girl who thought she didn't want any children brought life into this world on October 19, 2012. Our daughter was perfect. Beautiful blonde hair, perfect blue eyes. She fit wonderfully in my arms. She was a dream come true.
We slowly but surely caught on to all the things parenthood brings -- dirty diapers, sleepless nights and endless amounts of singing, "You Are My Sunshine."
By the time our daughter turned three months old, my husband and I were already thinking about our second child. We had decided we would start trying a few months before our daughter's first birthday. Some called us crazy, and in all reality we were crazy, but we were also crazy in love with being parents.
The absolute unthinkable happened five months into our lives with our daughter. She was diagnosed with a seizure disorder called Infantile Spasms. They later found tumors on her brain and heart, which led doctors to diagnose her with a genetic disease called Tuberous Sclerosis. This genetic disease also had a tag line of incurable.
Our hearts grieved for our daughter and for the life we had imagined for her. We weren't given much of a bright future for her and our hearts began to break as we heard the things that could accompany this disease.
We were encouraged to have genetic testing to find out if my husband or I had this same disease. The disease is so broad that we could have it and still show no signs. Because of the possibility of passing this on to our future children, we had to put our dreams of having another baby on hold.
After waiting a year for the test results, we were given the news. They could not find the genetic mutation. She was in the small percentage of having a clinical diagnosis, but no genetic results to go along. The doctor was talking, but my mind could not focus on what he was saying. Once the gibberish slowed down, my ears finally focused on him, and just as they did the most hurtful words spilled out of his mouth...
He slowly said, "It would be irresponsible for you and your husband to have any more children."
Life stopped within that moment.
Irresponsible. What did he mean? He didn't say that we were physically unable to have kids. He said that if we chose to, we would be irresponsible.
It felt as if it was a bad joke.
Girl who swears to never have kids finally decides she wants kids, and then is told not to have them.
I felt the joy of motherhood being sucked out of my every being. Not only had this disease taken things away from my daughter, but now it was also stealing the big, happy family I had dreamed of. All of a sudden, life seemed dark. I questioned why this could happen to our family. Although my whole life hadn't been spent on dreaming up my family, I did want to be a mother, and I did want to have children. I wanted my daughter to have siblings. I wanted to see my children grow up together, and now this doctor was telling me it wasn't the right choice.
It did feel like the world was over. In less than two years, we had moved across states, had a beautiful baby, been given a horrible diagnosis and then told we shouldn't have any more children.
Looking at it from this perspective, it felt as if life had given us the short end of the stick. I was mad. I was sad. I was terrified of never being happy again.
And then, after agonizing over something that could not be changed, I chose to take off the dark, gloomy glasses that I had been wearing since the news. I studied the faces of my husband and daughter. They were beautiful, they showed strength and determination, and overall, their faces made my soul fill with joy.
This life that I had been given wasn't the dark picture that my mind was trying to paint. No, we weren't prepared for the heartache of having our daughter diagnosed with an awful disease, and no, we hadn't planned on having to make a decision to not grow our family. But if you take those things away, God had given us a beautiful life.
We had seen our loving family grow closer together because of the disease. My husband and I had found a love for each other that was deeper than anything I could ever describe. And our daughter had taught us strength, love and true happiness.
How could I be mad at this life?
It wasn't what I expected, but look at what I thought I wanted in the beginning? It occurred to me that having one child is a miracle in itself. And that alone should be cherished.
My life isn't picture-perfect and to some it may seem a sad or difficult life. But for me it is a happily ever after. I was meant to be the mother of this child and I was meant to have her and my husband by my side.
I am so thankful the dreams of my 18 year old self weren't granted, and instead I was granted this life. A life full of laughter, love, and sloppy kisses from my toddler.