Thursday, 5 August 2010

Baby boom

When I was younger, not that I am exactly pushing my free bus pass now or anything, I always dreamed of having the perfect family. “Perfect” to me meant having 2 or 3 children, the first of which was to be born in my early 20’s. This was simply because I have always had such a fantastic relationship with my mum, who happened to have me at a similar age. I suppose I thought the relationship with my mum had a lot to do with her being younger and I could relate to her more than others could with their mums.
Obviously as I neared 21/22 years of age it was pretty clear I was not ready to start my family, I still felt a child myself to be fair! My priorities were shoes, alcohol and having a jolly good time not breast feeding and playschool. I wanted to live my own life a bit more and worry about myself for the time being. It just so happened that 22 was the year I really had to think of myself and nothing else. That was the year I was diagnosed.
Throughout the first few months of realising I had this condition, the constant tests, medication, being off work etc took pretty much all of my time and plans for any kind of future were firmly put on hold until I could figure out how this was going to affect me.
I was told that certain treatments were not considered safe if I was looking to have children in the near future, but as that was the furthest thing from my mind at the time I probably didn’t ask enough questions.
My treatments have obviously changed over the last year and as I am receiving more aggressive treatment, I have been informed of the consequences it has on “making babies”. To put it simply, the medications I am receiving will have devastating effects on a foetus, exactly what effects are still being researched I believe, however this means that if I wish to have children I must stop my treatment at least a year before conception is considered. Scary thought for any female, that now I actually have to carefully consider and plan when to have a family when for most people it is unplanned but welcomed nonetheless.
The thought of coming off medications for an entire year is daunting enough, how would my condition be controlled during this time? Would I be in agony for a whole year just waiting until I could get pregnant? Then obviously what if it takes a long time to conceive? All questions I think of now my head is a bit more screwed on but should have maybe asked before I agreed to have the treatment.
There is already so much to consider for the future that extra pressure is surely not needed, however that’s the way the cookie crumbles folks. In some ways I envy the people who have had children and sorted their families before they were diagnosed, however I know that it is not an easy ride for anyone and can’t imagine how tough it is if you’re feeling crappy and having to take care of your children as well as yourself. Phew, tough one.
One good thing I have heard on the grapevine though is that pregnancy often sends women with RA into short term remission (something to do with the hormones) so when actually pregnant, you may have less symptoms and pain. Maybe then, I should give up the drugs and continue to have babies for as long as possible?! It could be like the Von Trapp family (only without the singing).


  1. Many mom's have stated that during pregnancy for whatever reason, their symptoms had abated. Now I don't any scientific info to back this up for you other than, when I was pregnant, aside from passing out cold from low blood in spite of 2000mg a day of iron, I felt great. You should talk with your dr's about this and see if they can offer you any hope. Or you could weigh out the desires and odds. How bad do you want a child vs what can you bare for pain. Tazzy

  2. Do not be discouraged. There are medications for RA that are safe to take while you are pregnant but obviously you should coordinate with your OB and your rheumy when the time comes to plan this out. I feel for you in that this is very confusing. I wanted to have one more child (hopefully a girl, I have two boys) but RA changed my plans.

    As far as far after you have the baby and being able to take care of the baby - that totally depends on the circumstances. I had symptoms of both RA and FMS going back ten years but a few days after I had my son (who is now almost 2); I had the worst flare-up that I have ever had. I woke up one day to the inability to move or walk. My hands were clenched into fists and this feeling became the norm for many weeks. My sister stayed with me from a week after my diagnosis, by my family doctor, until the baby was three months. (I did not see a rheumy until three months later because of waiting lists.) I was able to go back to work because I received support from my family and I was able to feel somewhat better emotionally and making diet and lifestyle changes was new process but I was learning. It was, however, overwhelming. The first six months after diagnosis were the worst period of my life. I was juggling a career, a family, tending to an infant, and trying to make sense of my diagnosis.

    In your case, you have had experience in dealing with RA and I strongly doubt that your experience will be similar. If you want to have children, work with your team of doctors and make that possible, and when you do get pregnant – plan for the days and weeks after birth because despite remission during pregnancy, you may have a bad flare. Make sure you have the support from family to get through the first few months and it will be a rewarding experience. Don’t let RA scare you or discourage you.

  3. I'm 24 and was in noooo way thinking about babies anytime in the future, plus I'm gay so that's even further from my 'plans' but as soon as I got diagnosed and found out about the difficulty with medication etc, I've been stressing about it. It's like, I'm not even sure I want kids or if it'll ever be something that comes my way but I'd like to have the option. Im not too keen on passing down my RA genes anyway, although I know it's unlikely the kid will get it. I'd feel terrible if he/she did though.

    It's tough to think about such serious things at our age. It's one of these little extra 'fun' life changing things about RA that they don't tell you at first.

  4. Hi im currently off methotrexate to try for children i came off mrah they gve me steriod injection and kept me on planequil as safe for ttc and when preggy to also stayed on anti inflmmatories,pain relief i am to have planequil(also known as hydroxyqlourquine sulphate) and low dose steriod while preggy if need to.
    im end of 30's so hoping goes well. just thought id sa love your blog thanks sharing this.
    im not however a straight froward ra ase i have lso systemic lupus,fibromyaliga, until preggy only thing i had stop was methotrexate is harder without it but mostly i have balance ativities out more.keep mobile.good luck on your Ra Started at married late 20's here for support when need it hun.hugs m

  5. I am 25. I was diagnosed 2 years ago. I am single without kids. I have been putting off taking mtx bc of the same reasons. My dream has always been to have a husband and children. But now the plaquenil sulfazine prednisone and mobic are not helping. On my next rheumy appt, I will begin mtx. It scares me to think I may not be able to have children. I often wish I would have had a child before my RA. It hurts when I see people who neglect or abuse their children because I know I would give anything for the chance to be a mother.