Babies and BRCA
Babies and BRCA-
For today's blog post I asked my sister, Diana, to give us her perspective on having the BRCA gene and having a child. Personally, I have different a perspective and that's fine! That's why I wanted her point-of-view, because we all don't feel the same way about having the BRCA gene and having children. But I sure am glad she decided to have her baby, because now I have the MOST precious niece, Caileigh.
Caroline: When did you find out you had the BRCA gene?
Diana: I found out when I was 33 years old. I didn't get tested for it sooner because after I graduated from grad school I didn't have health insurance and I was working as a substitute teacher and a nanny, so I couldn't get health insurance through work. When I did get a full-time position and health insurance I didn't get tested, because my thought process was if my doctors know my family history can't they base my preventive care off of that? It wasn't until I was married had a conversation with my doctor and husband while also looking at our insurance that I learned my insurance covered most of my preventive care and screenings.
C: Did you always want children, or did your feelings change when you got older?
D: Yes, I always wanted to have children and my feelings did not change as I got older.
C: What were your thoughts when you were planning for your family and having the BRCA gene?
D: I know because I have the BRCA gene my child would have a 50/50 chance of getting it but it did not change my mind about having children. The BRCA gene was something I viewed as beyond my control and since there would be a 50/50 chance that any children I had could also have the gene, I wasn't going to let it control my choice of whether I would have children or not.
C: Did you ever consider not having children because you have the gene?
D: No, I did not consider it. It honestly didn't cross my mind.
C: How did you feel that you wouldn't be able to go for your regular screenings tests for 9 months?
D: When I tested positive for the gene my husband and I went in for a consultation and one of the questions was whether we were going to start a family. The nurse explained to us that if I was to get pregnant I wouldn't be able to have MRIs, but that I could get a sonogram of my breasts. This alternative was enough for me to feel confident that I would be monitoring my situation and so I wasn't worried about any issues arising during my pregnancy.
C: Do you worry that your daughter has the BRCA gene?
D: I don't want her to have it but I do not worry about it.
C: Are you going to insist she gets tested when she turns 18 for the BRCA gene or are you going to let her decide for herself?
D: I will have a conversation with her and I will ultimately let her decide for herself. I'm sure all of my testing will have some sort of impact on her. My two step children are aware that I have to go for these screenings in order to keep me healthy and they ask questions. So, I can see it being similar.
C: Are you going to do anything holistically preventative in the meantime?
D: I eat fruits and veggies and try hard to limit sugar but I its hard to not put sugar in my tea. Tea is what I look forward to in the morning. It's the way most people feel about coffee.
C: Do you have any advice for people who are apprehensive about having babies because they are positive for the gene?
D: I honestly feel that it's where you are mentally and emotionally with knowing you have this gene. From my perspective, I was concerned about passing it to my child, but I I also didn't want to live a life full of "what ifs". Of course I don't want anyone to have it and I hope she doesn't have it.
Expanding your family can be beautiful, if you so choose to. But, it's important to do what you feel most comfortable doing. DM me or comment below with your thoughts, comments or questions.
Love and Lemons,