Practical advice and personal wisdom from a four-time cancer survivor.

I’m ok not having kids

February 4, 2016 by Julie Negrin

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When I started painting for this post, I ended up with my theoretical children: 1 girl, 2 boys. Or is that me with 2 boys? Hmmm…I guess a part of me still wonders what they would be like…

I wrote this Facebook post after casually mentioning in a previous one that I was “okay not having kids.”  This is the follow up.

I realized in my last post, I glossed over the “I’m ok not having kids” topic without giving context. The reason I haven’t discussed losing the ability to give birth is because a) I am still processing it b) it’s SUCH a delicate topic. Some people get upset (offline) when I discuss certain topics, especially regarding kids/families. They feel I’m minimizing their experience when I share mine. I NEVER intend to hurt anyone when I express myself. If anything, I hope others realize they aren’t alone in their pain. I simply need to share my truth. It’s kept me sane throughout this entire experience. If a topic appears too painful, I completely understand if you can’t read it. I support you in doing what YOU need to do in order to stay sane!

Giving birth or not giving birth – so many deeply painful experiences regarding this extremely personal issue. The truth is I’ve been ambivalent about it for years. I imagine some of it is due to the fact that I helped raised six young children when I was still a kid myself. There are four kids in my family and my four young cousins lived across the street. I had a baby on my hip for much of my childhood. Or, maybe it’s because I developed a chronic disease when I was 17 and have had serious health issues on and off my entire life. How could I knowingly pass my genes on? Or, maybe it’s because I’m an extremist – I would either be a total hippie mama with a bunch of kids running around while I garden or I throw myself 100% into my work, my writing, my art. I don’t know. It’s clear from my writing and painting that I’m still working it out.

People say I can still adopt, which is true. Most agencies would probably have a hard time overlooking my “poor prognosis” (which is bullshit, of course, I’m not going anywhere). I think it would be tremendously unfair to burden children with the possibility that I may not be well enough to care for them. If I end up inheriting kids by way of a relationship – that’s different. There are two healthy individuals who are in charge of their well-being. For everyone’s sanity, I need to stay in a secondary position like Fun Auntie. Plus, I’m no spring chicken anymore. If others are cool with being older parents, go for it. I’ve been wiping baby butts since I was six years old. I’m good.

I wish I’d been more cognizant of this internal struggle – which is why I need to write about it now. I remember feeling a lot of struggle, guilt, and worry that I kept walking past Door A. But without much conscious thought, I kept choosing Door B instead of the one expected of me. As a Jewish woman from Spanish descent, the pressure to procreate is epic. I didn’t comprehend the enormous pressure I felt until the decision was made for me.

By the time I heard “you have two huge masses in your ovaries,” my response was “get them out.” Door A slammed shut. For the last two years, I’ve processed each loss when I felt up to it. I kept tiptoeing around this one wondering if a tidal wave of regret was going to wash over me. I waited. I waited. And finally, I realized, it wasn’t coming. If anything, I feel relieved. I’m relieved I didn’t pass on my genes. I’m relieved I can rest when I need to rest. I’m relieved I can use my spare energy with my wonderful nieces and nephews. I’m relieved I can care for my folks as they get older. Most of all, I’m relieved that I’m relieved.

I know that there are many, many women who would not feel relieved in my shoes. Or, don’t have a bunch of nieces and nephews to get their kid-fix from. Or don’t want to adopt or have the means to do so. Nobody wants to have this choice stolen from them. Nobody. To call it heartbreaking is an understatement.

My heart goes out to anyone that is struggling with this right now.

You are not alone.

Love, Jule

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Categories: Cancer, Life Lessons, Recovery, Side Effects

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  • Hi, my name is Julie Negrin. I’m a nutritionist that’s battled 4 cancers: melanoma, ovarian, colon, and endometrial cancer — the last 3 all at once — due to a genetic disorder called Lynch Syndrome. In the three years since I lost four organs, I've been slowly transforming to "disabled" after living a mostly able-bodied life. I've also had a bunch of other complications including not being able to eat solid foods.... Stick around if you're not afraid of the ugly bits. Much love,

    Much love,

    Julie Negrin

    About Julie & Cancer Teacher

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