The Things We Carry

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If I seem a little distracted today it’s because I just got the results back from my genetic testing. My doctor recommended this testing after reading about my heritage on the 24 pages of new patient paperwork Kyle and I filled out. He noticed I am of Eastern European descent which apparently puts me at risk for more genetic diseases, which we will put under the “THINGS MY LAST DOCTOR DID NOT EVEN THINK TO DO” column which is full, in case you were wondering. The test results weren’t bad: I am a carrier of three genetic diseases, all of which can be attributed to my Eastern European heritage and the percentage of passing it on to my future children is very low because Kyle is not of Eastern European descent therefore not a carrier (it takes 2 copies of the same gene for any disease to be passed on and we do not have 2 copies). I am thankful for this. I put this in the fertility “win column”; a column that, until recently, has not been getting much attention. Of all the things, the results of these tests are not as stress-inducing as say, getting diagnosed with PCOS, giving up gluten, then finding out you were misdiagnosed. So yeah, I’m not freaking out just yet.

These diseases I carry are all very different: from risk of excessive bleeding after trauma to increased risk for cancer. And no, I didn’t Google them because if I’ve learned anything it’s that nothing good comes from Googling diseases. Me and my anxiety are perfectly fine with the information the genetic counselor gave me and I will be letting my doctor take it from here.

I’m distracted because these are not the only things I carry. I carry a slow metabolism, the stocky yet somehow petite build I was given by the Italian side of my family, bad vision and acne prone skin. I carry some trust issues, a fear that after someone sees the “real me” they will leave, a messed up relationship with my body and aforementioned metabolism, insecurities around many things from the aforementioned body/metabolism to fear that I’m not good enough. Oh, and I also carry this really annoying tendency to put myself down….all. the. time.

Kyle and I have carried different backgrounds into our marriage: different communication styles, different families, different love languages, different ways of looking at the world. We carried our own issues, our own experiences and our own genetic make-up into our marriage too and, now, we hope to someday pass all of us on to children we create.

We carry many things besides possibly effed up genes into our relationships, our friendships, and our parenting. We carry with us years of baggage, years of pain, differences upon differences and yet we keep going: we keep carrying on, doing the best we can and, hopefully, learning from our mistakes, effed up genes and all. It’s what we decide to do with these things we carry; how we learn, grow and become better because of them that define us as friends, as significant others, as people as parents.

Tony Robbins says “things don’t happen to you, they happen for you” and I feel like this is the motto I have lived by but never been able to quote until now. I have been through some hard seasons, I have put my body, my mind and my heart through trials and tribulations and I feel like because of them, I can sit here today, after a phone call with a genetic counselor and say, I am proud of who I have grown to be, effed up genes and all. I will be proud to pass this person, effed up genes and all, to the children Kyle and I will create.

I can’t guarantee I will be the perfect role model for my child, I can’t guarantee I will be the perfect communicator or forgive my slow metabolism when I can’t lose the baby weight. I can’t promise I will not complain about hating my body in front of my child or put myself down in front of them. But, I will keep working through these things I carry, I will keep reminding myself that these things I carry aren’t happening to me, they are happening for me. And I will keep showing up: for me, for Kyle, for the children we create. I will keep doing better and that’s the best I can do.

I just hope Kyle and I both carry the gene for red hair, because I really want some ginger babies.

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