When contemplating starting a family, I searched for information to guide me through
the challenging path of reducing or stopping arthritis medications in order to safely
conceive. Unfortunately, the only reference to this process seemed to echo the statement
of 'come off drugs and then fall pregnant'. Easier said than done!
I searched both nationally and internationally in an attempt to find information
to explain how I would go about doing this. To my surprise, I found nothing. The
two steps of (i) come off drugs; and (ii) fall pregnant, seemed monumental to me.
Over the previous four years, life had become all about medications to allow me
to function. How would I cope without them? How would I function?
I knew I would experience some physical pain. What I was not prepared for however
was the psychological pain that came with it. As I started my journey to reduce
medications, I became riddled with fear, uncertainty and grief. I felt alone, vulnerable
and as though I had no control over my future. Medication had been my crutch - one
of the main things that kept me functioning each day and giving me hope that I could
do what I wanted to do, despite my arthritis. Taking this crutch away opened up
a whole new level of emotion.
I wanted desperately to speak to other women who had been through this process before
me. I wanted to know that they had succeeded and that they were happy and free of
fear and uncertainty. I wanted some inspiration to stop me from giving up when things
felt too hard. But I found nothing. I found nothing to read, no-one to talk to
and no-one to understand me.
When well enough to think beyond myself, I became determined to ensure other women
and men in my situation did not feel the loneliness and isolation that I had felt.
I wanted to create a resource for others who were contemplating and embarking on
their path to parenthood that would answer questions that I knew could only be answered
by those who had been on this journey.
The result of this determination is this book. It is a book that shares with you
not only my story but the experiences of women and men with arthritis from around
the world, who have fulfilled their goal of having a family despite arthritis. It
is my hope that this book reaches those who need it the most and that it empowers,
gives hope and reduces that terrible loneliness often felt by people living with
a chronic illness.