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

Young Mother With Hep C

I was diagnosed with hepatitis c at least 7 or 8 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 I also now live with hepatitis c. I became unexpectedly pregnant with my long-term boyfriend almost 6 years ago. Now we have a 5 year old boy who is healthy and vibrant and thriving. He tested negative for the virus. Which 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 5 months ago. He is healthy as well and looks just like his brother. Now again I am living in constant fear that he will have contracted the virus from me. There were no complications or reasons to believe he is at an increased risk for it. But I over analyze 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 new outlook. I was encouraged to breastfeed. But 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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Comments

  • Tash
    5 months ago

    I know this was posted a year ago, but felt compelled to comment on this because the complete understanding of this story. I was diagnosed in 2014 & cured at the end of 2015 but that year felt like an eternity in the sense of my insane paranoia that I had as well of fear that I could infect my family & most importantly my at-the-time only year old son. I would think 24/7 about my hep c & the fear of putting my loved ones in danger to the point it felt like an obsession like I couldn’t concentrate on anything else but those fears & the paranoia was unbelievable. I also didn’t talk about my hep c with very many people & like you said even then it was limited. I didn’t want them to worry about me more than they already were. There were times when I had such a small cut that was securely bandaged up that even though the facts were I was not going to harm my son by exposing him to my virus, I still wouldn’t pick him up or hold him without feeling the irrational thoughts like I was infecting him & being a horrible mother because of that. It was so difficult mentally & physically, but I also had nobody to talk to that could relate in any personal way & there definitely wasn’t websites like this that I could use to reach out to others that could personally relate. I was cured as I mentioned, but I remained involved with the hepatitis community because I don’t think people fully understand unless they’ve lived it themselves how much having hepatitis does impact their lives & even after being cured how it’s something that changes you forever instead of being something one can just simply forget about. I just thought I would let you know that I completely understand what you are going through & even though my story might be different in ways, it’s still the same in the sense that being infected with something like hep c when also being a mother to young children is even more difficult & scary. I wanted to be the best mother I could be to my son (I’m a single mother) & I realized I needed to fight as hard as possible to get cured for both myself & my son (who turned 6 today =]), but I also wish I would’ve been able to communicate with others & talk to them about shared struggles with having hep c so now I hope I can help people by letting them know they’re not alone, like it can feel like at times, & just be there for anyone who needs someone to talk to that personally understands what it’s like. =]

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