Being a foster mom, I always get asked, “Don’t you want any children of your own?” I know people aren’t being mean when they ask, but they just don’t realize asking that question puts me in an awkward position to explain something I shouldn’t have to explain. I am one of those women who have issues with having my own children.
Backtrack to when I was 24 and pregnant for the first time with a long term boyfriend. It wasn’t a planned pregnancy but I was happy to embrace my new journey. After meeting with my doctor and running some tests, I got news from the doctor that I had CMV which stands for Cytomegalovirus. Coming into contact with the CMV virus is a common occurrence and is typically harmless to the general population. CMV is a common virus that infects people of all ages, regardless of ethnicity or socio-economic class, and most people have been exposed to CMV at some point in their lifetime without their knowledge. In fact, it is estimated that 50-80% of adults in the United States have been infected with CMV by the time they reach 40 years old. Once CMV is in a person’s body, it stays there for life.
It wasn’t an issue that I had gotten CMV somehow, the issue is that I tested positive for the virus while I was pregnant and after a few tests, my levels for the virus never wavered. That meant they couldn’t tell if it was a new infection or not. After the amniocentesis, the results were still inconclusive. I ended up losing that pregnancy and didn’t consider having any children of my own again. I felt like my body had betrayed me and that I just wasn’t meant to have children. I met my husband a few years later with whom I had to share this information, hoping that he would understand why I was terrified to have my own biological children. He was amazing and completely understood my fears. We did decide to try to get pregnant, so we went to the doctor to see if my CMV levels were normal. After a few tests, the doctor said I had high levels but that I shouldn’t worry because I may just always have high levels. We decided to try, and in the summer of 2017, I became pregnant. After 8 weeks, I ended up miscarrying and it reconfirmed my fears that my body was just not meant to have children.
We now have our foster daughter who we plan on adopting hopefully very soon. I have a very loving, supportive husband who from day one has always loved me for me. Even though sometimes I feel like I could be missing out on something, I love the life I have. I want all women to know that you shouldn’t feel less than perfect just because you cannot have your own biological children or are struggling with fertility. There were other plans for me in works that I couldn’t see at age 24 and still didn’t see at age 32. I was meant to be my foster baby’s mommy and I will cherish being her mommy forever.
Additional information is included at the link below if you would like to learn more about CMV and how it can affect you and your children. Every woman of childbearing age should know her CMV status. Before you plan to conceive, ask your doctor to have a blood sample drawn for a CMV IgG and IgM antibody tests.
Babies born with congenital CMV may be born with birth defects and developmental disabilities, including:
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss
- Mental disability
- Microcephaly (small head or brain)
- Intracranial calcifications
- Lack of coordination
- Cerebral Palsy
- Feeding issues / Failure to Thrive (FTT)
- Sleeping, behavior, sensory issues
- Death (in rare cases)
Further Information on the CMV Virus can be found here.