A concerned-looking woman is holding a baby carrier. An amorphous blob spreads from her to the baby carrier.

Young Mother With Hep C

Last updated: March 2022

I was diagnosed with hepatitis C at least seven or eight years ago. I got caught up in the opioid epidemic as a teenager and unfortunately it altered my life forever–not only because I am a recovering addict, but also now that I live with hepatitis C. I became unexpectedly pregnant with my long-term boyfriend almost six years ago. Now we have a five year old boy who is healthy and vibrant and thriving. He tested negative for the virus. Up until that moment, the thought of him having the illness had eaten me up inside with worry and fear.

We recently welcomed our second baby boy five months ago. He is healthy as well and looks just like his brother. Now again, I am living in constant fear that he contracted the virus from me. There were no complications or reasons to believe he is at an increased risk for it. But I overanalyze every little thing and panic on a regular basis. It’s absolute torture living this way. I didn’t breastfeed my first born because I was under the impression I could pass the virus through breast milk and had limited support from doctors. This time though, new doctors gave a new outlook and encouraged breastfeeding. It has been such an emotional roller coaster. I feel like a walking contagion and that I could pass this on to my family just by living alongside them. I know that’s not how it’s spread but the guilt and paranoia still haunts me day today.

I wonder if there are any other moms out there who are struggling with this same situation. I feel alone. I don’t discuss having the disease with anyone but my husband and mom. And even those conversations are limited. I don’t like to dredge it up and make it the center of our lives. But it’s something I am constantly thinking about. If there are any other mothers out there dealing with this illness, I would be so happy and relieved to confide in you about living with this disease while raising a family.

Thanks for reading.

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