Life is hard. Like really, really hard. Sometimes, it's even downright unbearable. The difficulties of life are a reality none of us are immune from, but I will add that there are next-level hardships only a few can understand.
Receiving a challenging diagnosis for your baby while he is still in utero, like what an OB-GYN describes in this Hey Jane article about ending wanted pregnancies, would be up there on the next-level list.
But, I must warn you. The remedy the doctor presents in this article is no solution at all. What she suggests has the opposite impact. Rather than healing, it creates deep, deep hurt that cannot easily be taken back.
Here's a rundown of the point this doctor is making:
Essentially, during your pregnancy, you receive a diagnosis that your child may face a life with disabilities or even pass away shortly after birth. Because this is a potential future you may meet, she recommends avoiding such a path altogether by simply killing your baby.
As a mother of a little one with disabilities from birth, I have a response to these claims.
First, doctors are not always correct about outcomes.
My daughter has cerebral palsy, so I am fully aware of the mother's reality in the picture this Hey Jane physician paints. Though I am familiar with the struggles of caring for a child with disabilities, I am also intimately aware of how often doctors can be wrong.
My daughter's level of brain damage means she could possibly never hold her head up, crawl, or walk. It also could mean she'd never hear. Never speak. Never eat without the help of a gastric tube.
Never. Never. Never.
We heard countless times what she'd never do, and she's proven them wrong on many fronts and continues to on many more every passing day.
Though this is just our experience, my connection to a global disability network, by way of my daughter, affirms this very truth. Countless times, I've seen family members document the victories of those precious superhuman souls who are battling right where they are, proving doctors incorrect and teaching their family the extensive, near-limitless strength of the human condition.
Second, killing your child before she dies is not the answer to the challenges of grief.
My daughter was resuscitated at birth, and therefore, I do not know what it is like for my baby not to live. And though I'm close friends with several parents force educated on this devastation, I do know that killing your baby before she dies is no answer to the grief of losing your child in such a traumatic way.
The magnitude of grief in losing your child demands an equal measure of care. Simply killing your little one before you have to come face-to-face with that heartache will only exacerbate the trauma. It will not lessen it.
Because in the end, you not only have to deal with the agony of a dead child, but you'll have to contend with the anguish of you having a hand in the process.
Third, she equates a life with disabilities as good as death.
While speaking of the prospect of losing one's baby, the physician also suggests death for a child facing a life with disabilities. This particular assertion makes me pause to take long, cleansing breaths before I go nuts on the mere suggestion that a life with disabilities is one not worth living.
What's been most astonishing to me during this journey with my daughter is how often doctors push abortion on parents facing a similar situation to my own.
That disability network I spoke of has been a window into physician offices globally, and all too often, I find desperate parents coming to these forums asking individuals with disabilities to affirm that their life has been worth living at all.
As a mother who's currently on a path with her own little CP Warrior, I cry out to those parents that my daughter is worth every single moment of uncertainty. It will be worth every moment with your baby too. That it is okay to be scared, but in the end, your child's life - disabled or not - is just as worthy of your protection within the womb as it is outside.
Fourth, just because something is hard, it doesn't mean you have the right to kill.
The doctor states, "I have seen people who've suffered years of infertility, finally got pregnant, and then learned that the fetus has an extra chromosome or an inherited condition."
We're intimately aware of this experience, as well.
Once my husband and I began trying for another kiddo, we encountered a season of secondary infertility that would give way to a period of miscarriages.
We were desperate for me to carry a pregnancy to full term. When my second daughter decided she was happy to take up shop in my womb for the long haul, we prayed without ceasing that we'd eventually be able to hold her alive and well.
She persevered until 37-weeks and then was spun into a 27-hour event that would mean she still hadn't taken her first breath once outside the womb. The doctors knew her life could be spent in a state of total dependence through disabilities resulting from brain damage.
Could we have chosen not to resuscitate?
Think about that. If first breath bestows personhood, what would stop a doctor who would recommend abortion because of disabilities moments before exiting the womb from proposing the same thing once outside?
All because a child is presented with a life of different challenges to a baby born under normal circumstances? All because life could potentially be "painful" for the child and the family? All because the difficulties of getting pregnant led to a pregnancy that didn't meet expectations?
You don't have a right to kill her because your expectations were not met. I did not with my experience, and neither does anyone else because of theirs. It's a truth that is hard to swallow when you're facing the unknown, but the truth is the truth: life within the womb - disabled or not - has immeasurable worth that should be protected, not destroyed.
I could keep going, but for now, let me take a moment to give you what doctors gave my daughter.
Never discount the beauty of the life your precious little one will live out. Because no, it isn't what you imagined when you were planning your family, but it will be so much more than you ever could have dreamed if you let it.
Never listen to a doctor who profits from the lie that though it is hard, it isn't worth facing grief head-on so that you can heal properly.
Never underestimate how strong you are or your children. As I can attest, it is a beautiful life that I would never change a moment of (yes, even the tough ones) because I have the greatest blessing in the form of my precious child.
You can do this. I believe in you. Signed, the proud mother of a powerful, equally-valuable warrior princess.
Our President, Nicole Smith, founded Dignity Defense Institute out of the genuine desire to remind humanity of its immeasurable worth. No man, culture, or society has the right to design systems of measurement for human value. Whether it is sex trafficking, religious persecution, genocide, abortion, or beyond, DDI will stand in the gap for truth. We will shine a light on all the atrocities of yesterday and today so that these crimes against humanity will not be the reality of tomorrow. Stand in the gap with us. Consider joining our mailing list or making a tax-deductible donation today!