1. Myth: We can’t have children.
Women with bleeding disorders can still have your children. However, there are some important precautions to be taken, so women with a known bleeding disorder or who are carriers of a bleeding disorder should consult with a high-risk pregnancy specialist and their hemophilia treatment center (HTC) team before becoming pregnant. If you are concerned about whether your child will share your partner’s bleeding disorder, her doctors can discuss this with you. But kids are not out of the question for the fine women of the bleeding disorders community!
2. Myth: We’re fragile.
It might look like we have been beaten, but we probably don’t remember how we got that random bruise. Bleeding disorders and bruising go hand in hand. Sometimes, those bruises are even on our hands. Don’t be afraid to be with a girl because she bruises easily. But don’t take that to mean we’re weak or delicate girls; we might have some of the coloring of a blue jay, but we’re as strong as an eagle.
3. Myth: Our periods will stop us.
While our periods may be heavy, they won’t kill us. It might not be the thing you want to think about, but it’s something we deal with pretty often. A heavy period, however, doesn’t mean we can’t go out or do anything. We’re not going to bleed to death on our period, or else we wouldn’t still be in school, at work or with you. (And paper cuts won’t kill us, either.)
4. Myth: We need to be taken care of.
We are women of the world, too. Feminism arrived, and we were a part of that movement. We can play around, play-wrestle with you, throw and kick balls, run and have just as good a time as anyone else. Girls and women with bleeding disorders may have to take certain precautions, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get out there and do stuff. We are strong; we live our lives the way we want to without letting our bleeding disorders take control, and we challenge what it means to be a woman with a bleeding disorder in today’s society.
5. Myth: Our kids will have a bleeding disorder.
Having a bleeding disorder does not mean our kids will, too. It takes both a male and female to not only conceive a child, but also to give that child its genetic makeup. Depending on what goes into the equation, you could get a near-infinite number of results. You might have one child with a bleeding disorder and one without. Many kids with bleeding disorders today can only be picked out of the crowd by what it says on their medical alert bracelets. So, even if you do have a child with a bleeding disorder, it’s not the end of the world. (Plus, the bleeding disorders community is pretty cool.)
Nosebleeds are not uncommon in the bleeding disorders community. Girls can have them, too, but they can be dealt with just like other bleeds. Most of the nosebleeds I’ve had in my life have been completely random. While a few have had me running into things and becoming light-headed, most have been the result of sinus issues or general dryness.
Even though it seems like dating a girl with a bleeding disorder could be a lot more work, it really isn’t too different from any other relationship. Every relationship is unique, and each has a special quality that makes it stand out in a crowd. We just tend to be the ones who bring that quality to the relationship. There is an entire bleeding disorders community around the world that can help out in a variety of ways, with its chapters, youth camps, family camps, annual meetings, and various local, national and international activities. The bleeding disorders community is a big family, and we love to welcome new members regardless of whether a person has a bleeding disorder. We will open up and help in any way we can, so don’t let your girlfriend’s bleeding disorder scare you away.
Renée Embry, who has a platelet disorder, is a junior at the University of Memphis, double-majoring in art and in African and African-American studies.