Combatting Hereditary Fears for My Daughters
Last updated: April 2023
As I’ve gotten older and finally been able to manage the “worst” of my endometriosis symptoms, more and more I find myself thinking about my daughters. Just getting to the "tweenager" stage, I can’t help but think about what might be ahead for them.
As more time passes, I find myself looking for ways to combat my fears about the hereditary nature of endometriosis.
Will they have to struggle with doctors, periods, painful symptoms, and ineffective medications the way I did? Will they lose countless hours of sleep because of painful cramps and doctors that claim it is normal?
How to combat fears about your daughter's future
They aren’t me, and my story doesn’t have to be theirs. I am a 1st generation endometriosis diagnosis.
When it comes to endometriosis, knowledge is power. Sure, the fact that endo can be hereditary may not be considered “good” news.
However, the simple fact that we know this can change everything for my daughters.
My lived experience has value for them
Of course, my primary wish will always be that the endometriosis dragon will pass them by. But if not, if endo is unavoidable for them, there is value in my lived experiences that can change everything for them.
I know the signs and symptoms and have fostered positive relationships with qualified health professionals. I would go through it again, a million times over, if it makes a difference for my girls.
I can look back now, during the worst of my pain, when I feared that I wouldn’t be able to have children at all and find comfort in my blessings now.
Medications, research, and treatments have come a long way
Endo research and treatment options have come a long way, especially in recent years, which translates to many more options should they eventually develop endometriosis. Not to mention simply the availability of information and community alone will make their experiences markedly different for the better than mine ever were.
Three ways to help prepare your daughters
Modeling positive body image
Learning to listen to your body takes practice. It is a skill that takes so much time and positive reinforcement.
If I’m being honest, something that I still struggle with more often than not. But for my daughters, I will continue to do my best to model what it means to listen to your body and interpret its signals.
To show them that we shouldn’t be ashamed of our body's “natural processes.”
Allow space and the opportunity to practice for them to advocate for themselves
One of the most difficult things I’ve had to learn is how to best be an advocate for myself. I’ve struggled with learning how to voice my concerns in an open, honest conversation with my doctor.
When we go to their doctor appointments, I do my best to prepare them but also allow them to speak to the doctor, in their own way, with their own words.
With my support, they ask and answer questions themselves. I give them the opportunity to have more practice advocating for themselves.
Nurture open communication
While I try to make it clear that no question is off-limits, at this point, I can’t know for certain that they believe it is actually true in practice. But I’m really trying to lay the foundation for open communication simply by being available.
I’ve heard a bit of parenting wisdom over the years; if I’m not available to talk about the little things like their favorite toys or activities, there is no way they will entrust me with their big things.
So I do my best to fully listen and be available to talk and spend time with them, even in the busy world in which we live.
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