By Aymleung (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I have a desire to get married and have a family. As a (younger) adult, I wanted four children and a family like the Cosby’s. I did not want to compromise this desire. I also didn’t share this desire aloud.
I cannot hide behind this screen and tell the world that this is some unselfish dream. Just reading those first sentences, there is an air of immaturity and selfishness behind my desire for a family. For some of us, this desire becomes selfish when unchecked and misunderstood. It leads to selfish actions. We end up with selfish motives entering our relationships. Yes, I went there. The word packed with sting, selfish.
It is purely a want and desire that I see as something to benefit and satiate a yearning within my heart. Children that have my genetics. A husband that loves me. A family of my own. Even in the wrappings of nice and sweet terms such as “sacrifice” and “submit,” the desire is intrinsically selfish.
I saw how selfish this desire was when (after nearly [x] years away from dating) I was asked on a date (…yay?). I don’t “date” in the Western term of the word: we will casually form a friendship and watch how things go from there. No use “jumping in” a relationship for the sake of having one…
So, there we were, getting to know each other and the topic turned to my career field: biology. More specifically, the field of genetics. Genetics and biochemistry. Genetics, biochemistry and diseases (I’ve been in school too long…).
I carry an autosomal recessive genetic disease. In its homozygous form (that means you have two copies of the gene) it is a severe, painful and deadly disease. It is painful to watch and painful to have.
And I can pass this disease on to any children I have with another carrier.
That is inheritance.
That is (basic) genetics. I carry it and my mother carries it. My mother didn’t know she was a carrier when she met my dad, married him, and had her little bundle of baby test positive for this genetic trait. She always says how lucky she was that my dad was not a carrier as well.
Yet, I know I am a carrier.
And so is he.
This is not new information. You see, he told me this in the eleventh grade. He then mentioned it again about two years ago. And again last year. Each time is as if this is the first time he is giving me this information. We have discussed marriage. We discussed children. We confront the same information: What decision do we make with this information being known to us?
There is a 25% chance of having a child with both copies of the defective gene.
There is a 50% chance of having a child with one copy of the defective gene.
There is a 25% chance of having a child with two normal copies of the gene.
In that Cosby family, one child would theoretically suffer due to our selfishness.
“Theoretically” leads to two overly simplistic responses:
“Don’t trust genetics. Trust God.”
“God gave you this insight into the genetics and this revelation for a reason.”
There are wonderful qualities to this person. Yet, this is the information we were given well before the idea of romance entered our minds. [X] number of years without dating aside…could there be someone else who is not a carrier for both of us? Information and insight given for a reason?
In this light, how selfish to ignore this information and move forward. It seems these are not questions another human can answer…