March 07, 2011

Having Children After Cancer

The thought of carrying a child for nine months and having them pass through my crotch is about as appealing to me as having a recurrence of my cancer.  I’ve flat out never wanted to become pregnant or be a mom.

When I met my husband, I told him on date number two that I had cancer.  On date number three I told him I didn’t want to have kids.  I added the caveat that if I ever changed my mind, I’d want to adopt.  Agreed.   That was six years ago and we are still happily “childless by choice.”

But what choices would I have available to me if I do someday change my mind and as a cancer patient want to adopt or even foster a child?  Cancer conferences, organizations, or projects dealing with family planning dominate the issue with an often exclusive focus on fertility. Adoption is the bastard child of the cancer world. It drives me up the wall, and this is why Gina M. Shaw’s new book is a welcome addition to my cancer book library.

Gina is the author of the new book Having Children After Cancer (Ten-Speed Press). ‘Be My Baby’ is a forty-seven page chapter on cancer and adoption – one of the most in-depth sources I’ve read on the subject.  Like the rest of her book, it is laden with straight-up, indispensable information for both men and women facing cancer and planning a family.  A medical writer, breast cancer survivor, and mother of three kids (both adopted and biological), Gina’s book is not a cutesy bun-in-the-oven romp through baby land.  A writer after my own heart, Gina gives readers a serious education on the legal, financial, medical, and administrative side of family planning.    Having Children After Cancer enables survivors to read about adoption as a valid family planning choice along side fertility preservation, IVF, and surrogacy.    Whether you are recently diagnosed, a childhood cancer survivor, or just out of treatment, Having Children After Cancer is the family planning go-to book.

Have you thought about cancer and family planning?  What is the most challenging part about it?  If you’ve had a kid since your cancer diagnosis, share your story in the comment section so others can learn from your experience.

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