This article is about the best and worst time in my life: my pregnancy. Please be aware that this is my unique experience, so please do not be alarmed - it could be different for you, and I sincerely hope it is!
I found out I was pregnant in April. I was almost 3 months gone but, as my only symptom was excessive fatigue, I thought everything was normal. I had identified my fibromyalgia when I was about 20 years old; though my grandma has it, nobody had told me and I knew nothing about it. Like for many others, fibromyalgia was not considered a 'real disease' until only a few years ago. Because of this, in my country, there is no legal protection for fibro patients and they are often fired or mistreated because they are not understood.
When I was diagnosed, I became really depressed. My partner knew about it and helped me through it all every day over the years, never neglecting me or my needs. My first reaction was to ask why and to cry about it - after all, I was so young and had my life ahead of me. Then my second reaction was to cry because I thought it may not ever be possible to have children. But I was wrong.
My pregnancy was accidental. I was taking medication and had just gotten a new job - one in which people were very supportive of me. Since I found out, I have changed my lifestyle A LOT. I have to admit that I first thought of getting an abortion; I couldn't imagine how much it would physically hurt me to have a baby growing inside my body. I also wasn't very healthy then, always tired and lacking in vitamins.
Fortunately (I now realise) I discovered it was too late to have an abortion unless it was found that the pregnancy endangered my or the baby's life. I could have proven this, but it meant submitting to lots of medical exams, endless appointments, and through all this, my child was going to be inside me... I would break down if I had one after creating bonds with my son/daughter. So, me and my partner decided to have the baby.
Here I am now: 8 months pregnant, exhausted and already at risk of early labour, but happier than ever. I've stopped taking pills. I quit smoking, cigarettes and pot. I changed my diet. I lost friends and got more lonely than ever. I've gone through lots of changes in a short time, but I did it for Luna.
On doctor's orders, I finished work a month ago and photography last week. Most of my days end in tears because I go to bed in a lot of pain, but I'm blessed to have a partner that cooks for me, cleans, goes shopping and walks our little dog. He has been my biggest support in life, especially during this phase.
When I found out I was pregnant, I started to read lots of testimonials about pregnancy in fibro patients, and soon it made me very sad. In almost all of them, women say that their fibro got better during pregnancy and that they felt almost no pain. Friends, in my case, it was far from true. I'm not afraid to say that pregnancy has been my best/worst period in life; I have never felt so much pain or sadness about my condition. I have never felt so neglected by health organisations. But I can guarantee one thing: my daughter has no fault in that. I do not regret anything and I will sacrifice myself until the end, just to have her healthy and happy.
Pregnancy hurts me so much, but I have learnt to fight and learnt a lot about life. You never know what people are dealing with, what struggle they go through. So be kind and share love - one day, life will reward you. If you're a fibro patient thinking about getting pregnant, don't be afraid. Do it with someone that you're sure cares about you and your condition, and plan it well to hopefully relief any suffering. But don't forget, don't let anyone tells you what is right or wrong. It is your body, only you know what's good for it.
Give yourself the right to be happy and to bring another life to the world. Give yourself the right to live - like everybody else.
Written by Maria Fox