Choosing abortion because parents afraid of life? #prolife #tcot #parents
Posted May 20 2011 6:52pm
I have a sister who was born post Roe v Wade and she has spina-bifida, a condition in which the spine doesn’t form properly, leaving tissue and spinal cord exposed&often fluid in the brain requiring an internal shunt to drain it. Back then they didn't have the ability to operate in the womb like they do now to correct this condition. Why didn't the parents in this story from the UK go that route?
Instead, the worried mother reflected on the what if's and the worst scenarios such as
I pictured him watching from the sofa, frustrated and immobile, as his sisters turned cartwheels and somersaults in the living room. I envisaged trips to the park, where he would sit on the sidelines as other children clambered over climbing frames and kicked footballs.
Thankfully, my parents gave my sister life despite her condition and she is a bright,outgoing,and blessed married woman. She has never let her handicap get her down&has always been an inspiration to everyone who meets her. She is always positive and has a heart of gold.
When I became pregnant with my first son I was 35 and they asked if we wanted genetic testing or amnio testing and we declined both. I knew there was a small chance I could have a child with spina-bifida,one in 1000 worldwide, but thankfully we did not end up with a disabled child and our second son, who was born when I was 38 is also healthy.
However, we were willing to take the responsibility and face whatever challenges were ahead if any of our sons would have any disabilities. Just as when one marries they marry for sickness&health;you don't cancel out on your love and commitment to them if they become incapacitated. Anyone who conceives a child and then decides they want to 'send him/her' back is heartless,acting selfishly and in fear, and will never find perfection because they are denying God's gift and He will deny them. Not to mention they are denying their siblings a lifelong friend that could have brought joy&inspiration to their world&others, as my sister has done for us. Here is the story of George
The consultant referred me to London’s specialist University College Hospital for a detailed scan which would help determine the extent of our son’s handicap.
The scan confirmed that our baby would never walk. He would be doubly incontinent and paralysed from the waist down. Water was collecting around his brain, and only time would tell if that would impair him mentally.
I tried to shake away the image I conjured in my head of a little boy, lonely and friendless, robbed of the most basic human functions. The prospect of watching a child I’d love just as much as his sisters suffer in this way made me howl. I hugged my stomach, as if I could in some way shield him from the misery that lay ahead.
It was the thought of our son’s incurable impotence that triggered my husband’s tears. ‘Oh God, what sort of life will he have?’ he asked the doctors. It was, of course, a rhetorical question, and no one attempted to answer it.
My brother James has a son, Anthony, who has cerebral palsy. When we shared our dilemma with James, he told me how painful it is to watch your disabled child struggle and suffer.
Anthony, now 12, spent months in the neo-natal intensive care following his birth, and has endured several operations on his back and legs. He is still unable to walk far and needs his parents’ help to get dressed.
He is highly intelligent and, while none of us could bear the thought of life without him, his frustration at his condition is evident. Seeing his younger brother, Scott, turning somersaults on a trampoline at a family barbecue, he grew angry and used his favourite weapon his vicious tongue telling Scott that everyone thought he was stupid. Tears followed, from both boys.
James said that the degree of handicap our child faced could prove unbearable for all concerned, not least our son.
'I realised I couldn’t bring this child into the world, knowing the extent to which he would suffer'
When my older sister, Marie, a nurse who has cared for sick children, told me I should spare us all the suffering and have a termination, I was still shocked. And angry. I felt nobody but me loved this baby.
Yet when I look back now, I am grateful for my sister’s words. They gave me permission, somehow, to consider termination.
And so it was that a week after that first scan, and against my initial instincts, I realised I couldn’t bring this child into the world, knowing the extent to which he would suffer.
Andrew and I talked long into the night, and finally agreed that ending the pregnancy was the kindest thing we could do for our son.
Yet if making that choice was hard, the physical ordeal was only just beginning. At 18 weeks pregnant, I was too far gone for a surgical termination and would have to go through a labour and delivery, under the care of midwives at our local hospital.
The first step was to take the drug Mifepristone to block progesterone, a hormone vital to pregnancy. I swallowed the pill in a side room on the labour ward the same room where I’d given birth to our younger daughter two years previously.
Over the two days that followed, I fought the urge to put my hands on my stomach when I felt the baby move. Knowing that he was slowly dying inside me was the very definition of hell.
After two days, I returned to the same room to take a second drug to induce labour.
What followed were the worst 16 hours of my life. They passed in a morphine-induced haze, but there was no dulling what was happening.
My baby was being forced into the world long before he could survive in it, and it felt unnatural completely at odds with my instincts as a mother. My body seemed to be doing all it could to hold onto him, and the labour went on and on.
At one point, in the grips of what felt like a panic attack, I became hysterical. Gasping for breath and screaming, I demanded that Andrew tell me why we were doing this and why it was the right thing for our son.
He calmly described the kind of life we were trying to spare him from, and that we were loving parents, doing what we felt was best.
I demanded to know: ‘If this baby was inside you, not me, would you be on this bed right now, ending his life?’
‘Yes,’ he assured me. ‘I know how hard it must be, and I wish I could take your place.’
I wanted the labour to be over, but I dreaded the end. Having experienced the joy of delivering two full-term babies, I was frightened of how my son would look at 18 weeks’ gestation. At the same time, I knew I had to take the only opportunity I would ever get to hold him.
Andrew, who was by my side throughout the labour, eventually decided to give me some privacy and went for a coffee. The midwife disappeared, too, so I was entirely alone when our son was finally born, asleep, just after 9am on October 12.
Not daring to look at him, I screamed for help and was alarmed to see the midwife recoil before reaching out to pick him up from the bed.
When Andrew came back he was distressed, and not sure he could bear to look at our son, whom we had long before decided to name George.
However, when George was returned to us, clean and dressed in crocheted clothes no bigger than those worn by our daughters’ dolls, Andrew held out his arms and cradled our tiny son just as lovingly as he had held our two daughters when they were born.
I said George had my husband’s nose, and, as we passed our son between us, tears ran down our cheeks for the child we would never see grow.
It was a struggle to get through the weeks that followed. Our family and friends helped with the children, and before long I was taking my younger daughter to playgroups and ferrying my elder to and from school.
With friends, I was honest about what had happened, but acquaintances shied away from asking what had gone wrong with the pregnancy. When I heard other mothers chatting about shopping or potty training, I wanted to scream: ‘Have you any idea what I’ve been through?’
Everywhere I went, there were pregnant women and babies. I felt irrational anger and resentment that these mothers hadn’t faced the choice of whether or not to abort a disabled child.
I even envied women who had miscarried something I’d experienced myself, with great sadness, three years previously. But at least those babies hadn’t died at their mother’s hands, and their experiences evoked straightforward sympathy, never vitriol.
With hindsight, I realise I was depressed, though I never asked for medication, focusing instead on getting pregnant again.
According to Department of Health figures for England and Wales, almost 2,000 terminations are carried out each year on the grounds that the child would be handicapped. Others, of course, opt to keep their babies.