After Years of Tumors, Growing a Baby Instead
Doctors said I probably wouldn't live to see my child grow up, but I still wanted to be a mom.
Photos courtesy the author
“Feel free to have children,” the doctor said. “Just know you probably won’t live to see them grow up.”
I stared past him at the sheen of the window. Ice crystals branched along its surface, blurring the slushy traffic of the fading Boston afternoon.
This oncologist had become protective over the years. Though clumsy in his delivery, he intended a kind reminder.
As a 33-year-old with one year of marriage and three bouts of a rare unpredictable cancer behind me, I needed no reminding. Any child I had would develop in my damaged abdomen, stretching its web of scars. This child would then grow up forever linked to my uncertain health. Time and again I wondered – is it fair, wise, or kind to bring a child into the world knowing I may not live long?
Before cancer, parenthood seemed a hazy reverie. My life was saturated with happy hours, graduate school projects, second dates, medical school applications. Blissfully busy, I surged forward with plans for career and comp…