The stunning Shari Pundrich with her son Felix (2). When Shari and her husband got married she went off of birth control right away. About a year and half later she hadn't conceived but didn't think much about it. Around the same time, Shari's mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and testing revealed that Shari herself carries the BRCA-1 gene. For the first time in her life, her doctors started to ask her if she planned on having children and recommended that if she did, they make it happen sooner rather than later.
Shari and her husband had fertility testing and while both of their counts were low, their diagnosis was unexplained. They ended up attempting Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and were able to conceive on their second attempt. Shari's pregnancy and birth went very well and Felix was born without complication. Afterwards, however, she found herself struggling and says that she failed her postpartum depression screen. Anxiety was also quite pervasive, though in hindsight, Shari says a lot of it was situational. She thought that time as a new family would be a bonding time of togetherness and support but found instead that she felt on her own quite a lot. Shari and her husband tried marriage counseling and she has checked in with therapists along the way but they ended up separating and she is now navigating life as a single mother. She says it hasn't been easy but is at a place where she has great days and knows they're going to be okay.
Living life knowing she carries the BRCA-1 gene and also having seen the effects of cancer first hand with her mothers initial diagnosis and recurrence, she says that she had given a lot of though as to what she should do with the information she has. Initially she wanted nothing to do with prophylactic surgery and then changed her mind and did very much want to have it done. However, after becoming a mother she has an emotional attachment to her breasts she didn't have before and can't imagine having them removed. At this point in time an oophorectomy to remove her ovaries and lower her risk of cancer sounds like her best option, though the uncertainty of whether or not she'd like to have more children means she'll be holding off until she feels certain about her choice.