Today, I became my husband’s dependent — officially.
A few months ago, I wrote about being ineligible for health insurance because I was already five months pregnant when I applied for it. My only option was to register as my husband’s dependent. That meant he would have to share his hospitalization benefits with me when I give birth — benefits he also needs as a person with hemophilia.
Jared and I found the situation funny and ironic. How odd that a “normal” person such as myself should “depend on” someone who society may perceive as burdensome.
In many ways, I do depend on my husband. He’s my shoulder to lean on, a source of strength whenever I feel emotionally drained. Now that I am pregnant, we’ve had to strengthen our teamwork to ensure that I am getting the best support I can while carrying our child.
Earlier, I sent him a link to a humorous article about the everyday struggles of some pregnant women’s husbands. One husband fell victim to his wife’s “pregnancy brain” and found himself with an empty sandwich for lunch. Another husband complained about their bedroom being too cold. Others found themselves on the “losing side” when it came to household food items.
I wanted Jared to know that I acknowledge his hardship (which he must be feeling doubly considering he also has health issues to deal with).
He told me not to worry, I have “special privileges” right now. “Just don’t turn off the electric fan,” he bargained. (I like warm temperatures while he prefers his surroundings to be pleasantly sub-Arctic.)
My heart warmed at the thought of having a very supportive husband.
Now that I am visibly pregnant, I get to enjoy certain perks in the outside world. Whenever Jared and I go out on buying trips for our business, my pregnancy serves as a conversation piece to help us interact with our partners. Occasionally, my belly bump earns us discounts.
While these are amazing perks, the truth is that pregnancy is a very complex experience. I regard it as a blessing, but it can also feel like a curse. People look at my belly bump in awe of the new life forming inside, but they don’t see the struggles I go through because of it. I often find it hard to sleep because of acid reflux, painful leg cramps, and also because this blessed little life-form is tossing and turning inside me. I’m hungry 24/7, and I get angry if I don’t eat regularly. Sometimes my joints hurt due to the added weight I’m carrying.
I felt so sympathetic to the plight of people with disabilities. I don’t think the perks of a PWD ID (free movies, fare discounts, cheap food) could ever make up for the struggles they go through on a daily basis. They live in a world that caters almost exclusively to the needs of “normal” people.
With this in mind, I continue to help my husband in the ways that I can, even though I am already significantly limited. Jared, with his bad ankle, is now better at climbing stairs than I am. I find it difficult to crouch or pick up things from the floor, so he helps me with that. Jared’s epilepsy prevents him from driving, so I remain in charge of that task. I see myself doing this until the minute I begin labor, for as long as things continue to go well (fingers crossed).
Parenthood will be yet another chapter. We will have to adapt our teamwork to balance out each other’s limitations. How will we do it? We’ll figure it out as we go along.
What’s important is that we both recognize that we are responsible for one another — and for the well-being of our little one.
We are each other’s keepers.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.