Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What do success and failure have in common?

What do success and failure have in common?

Risk. They both require a risk. Some are afraid of failure and don't risk anything. Some are confident they will succeed and risk carelessly. Others take calculated risks. Whatever the nature of the risk, it is always a personal choice one makes. Whether to take a risk at all.

I once sat in on a small conference call where HIV experts and public policy makers were discussing matters of risk for women who are HIV negative wanting to have a child with an HIV+ partner. They were saying things like "liability", "risk", "treatment", "exposure", "legislation", "policy", and "conversion," I was the only one in the room who was actually living the life they were speaking about. And I kept thinking how strange it was that no one asked me about the risk
I would be willing to take.

They decided for me. The risk was too high.

The risk to myself, the risk to their practices and policies, the risk of worst case scenario malpractice suits...they were all too high. I appreciated them gathering together to discuss these risks, and allowing me to be part of the discussion. Several of them were quite empathetic and are truly fighting to allow for more options to me. But...it stung that I could not decide for myself how far I would go, what risks I would take...to hold our child in my arms.

About a year later, I had a discussion with my doctor in which I asked her to research the possibility of my husband and I having scheduled unprotected intercourse to conceive a child. This is probably our last option to conceive. She told me "It is too risky." Once again, the decision is made for me. I realize it is a radical decision, and not one that should be made lightly. But after eight years of dead ends...its time to get radical and think outside of the box. Beyond the statistics, beyond the policies, beyond the medical offices, and beyond the fear.

If any of you readers are doctors, policy makers, elected officials.....please.

Let me take a risk.

1 comment:

Magnetic Mama said...

Hi Poprock, it's interesting that when it comes to HIV clinicians are so terrified of whatever, lawsuits?, giving advice that backfires?not knowing enough? Whatever it is, it is sad, painful and unhelpful when the healthcare professionals seem more concerned with talking you out of something than listening to your needs and helping you find a solution that YOU can live with. They are probably quite happy with their own kids and can not imagine the desperate deep longing one feels when this is no longer a given thing that just 'happens'...and having children is the most natural desire for any person. While I understand that for others, trying to have a baby with your HIV-positive husband might seem irresponsible or too risky, to me it is simply normal. My own mother has been trying to convince me that this would be a bad idea, informing me that celebrities often have their kids in their 40s or that it would be irresponsible to bring new children into this broken world. The truth is, this is a decision only 2 people have a say in, the partners involved. The fact that you are consulting a professional and asking for advice to minimise the risk does not mean it becomes the advisor's decision. I've read up a lot about Pre-exposure prophylaxis and timed intercourse and so far there have been no seroconversions of negative female partners using this method. And, regardless of the stats, this risk is yours to take and the decision yours to make. Look after yourself and each other, Magnetic Mama