Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why Carry A Dying Child?

So I actually read an article by in One More Soul before heading home and learning of the problems our sister-in-law and brother are facing while five months pregnant with their second child.

It struck me on so many levels, but ultimately because I am a mom and abortion is not a choice for me no matter what prenatal diagnosis we receive. This mom lost two of her babies to the same disease. She wrote this piece while pregnant with the daughter she knew would die much like her older son did. Ultimately though, she was able to savor the time she did have with them.

I could not find the article on the One More Soul Web site, but I found it on another very interesting site, Be Not Afraid. Click here to read Teresa Streckfuss' story.

These two parts were the most striking to me:
Some people think we carried Benedict and Charlotte to term because we don’t agree with abortion, because we are Catholic, or perhaps because our nephew was carried to term after a fatal diagnosis. While these factors probably all played a part in our immediate refusal of the option to ‘terminate’, this is not what it’s all about! It’s about love! It’s about my baby! It’s not about some tragic, fatal medical condition - it’s about my child. We do not possess more strength than other people. It’s not because we can cope where others wouldn’t. There is no way to avoid the sad fact that she cannot live long after birth with this condition, but causing Charlotte to die earlier will not stop this happening. Causing her to die earlier will only take from us the beautiful experience of knowing and loving her.

So don’t pity us for carrying a child we know will die. Carrying this beautiful person is an honour. Grieve for the fact that our baby will die. We wouldn’t wish away the time we had with Benedict, and also this time we are now experiencing with Charlotte, just to save us the pain of losing them. I’ve always thought of it like this; if your 3 year old was diagnosed with untreatable, fatal cancer and had only 4 months to live; would you prefer the doctor kill your child straight away so that you didn’t have to wait for his/her impending death? Or would you prefer to spend as much time as you could with your child and love him/her for as long as you had left?

As a mother who has lost three babies early in pregnancies, I longed to hold them or spend time with them. I never wished I wouldn't have been pregnant with them even though losing them was so painful. I felt like losing them, I came to such a deeper understanding of the value of life. Each of my babies have a name and I often think about them as I watch my beautiful boys play.

I know my experience is not the same as this woman's or honestly any other person's, even those with similar circumstances. Each person walks their own path. But I know the pain and sadness that can accompany a person when they find out their baby is or will likely die. It is so deep and hard to bear, thank God we don't have to bear it alone.

This article was very touching and a beautiful testament to this woman's faith and trust in God. I have read it several times over the past few weeks and am sure I will hold onto it.

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I'm a mommy, wife and educated woman with an inquisitive mind. I am always looking in ways to challenge and grow in my faith. Many wise people I have known have reminded me if I am not growing, I am going in the wrong direction.