Monday, November 23, 2015

Six Years On

On this day every year I usually post a picture of Louise's ultrasound taken by the same doctor who was willing to write her off as faulty goods. I usually say something sentimental about marking the date.

But this year I want to tell you that this story goes far far beyond me and my.

Every single day across the western world mothers emerge from ultrasound rooms with abortion referrals for their baby.  They have been let down and let down badly by doctors whose first rule is Do No Harm. I do believe these doctors think they're sparing families the trouble and effort they think is involved with having a child with a disability, and for sure there is indeed effort involved in caring for a child whose potential may not be ours.

However, what the doctors are missing, along with friends who say things like 'do what's right for you' and 'you have to think of your other children', is that what the mother is feeling is fear.  Not of the baby but of her own inability to do this.

That's what I was terrified of.  I didn't think I would be able to hold a baby in my arms and watch her breathe her last.  I thought that her last breath would also be mine.  I didn't think I could do it. I'm just someone, not a hero, not supermom, not some saint, just someone who didn't think I could do it.  And that's why, if she was going to die anyway,  I hoped for a miscarriage soon so I could grieve her and move on.  And that's why so so many succumb to doctor pressure to abort their child who could have enriched their life so much, even though it involved sacrifice.  They're not thinking of the inconvenience but of their own weakness to cope with the worst imaginable loss.

The doctor didn't address my fear, she addressed my inconvenience.  Inconvenience wasn't my problem.  I was lucky that we already had a chink free armour when it came to abortion, I had family and friends who weren't going to say 'do what's right for you' but who were going to say

"You're right, you can't do this....alone...and that's where we come in."

I had family and friends who prayed when I all I could do was cry.  They worried along with me.  They loved my sick baby before she could win their hearts with her smile. The love that carried me is exactly the love parents whose baby is diagnosed today and tomorrow need so badly. Being carried is what they need, not a cold hopeless letter entitled foetal abnormality.  That's why One Day More is here. We're here because nobody can do this alone. And nobody should have to.

They're right, nobody should 'have' to travel abroad to kill their child.  Nobody should be left so lacking in support that they think this is the only or best option.  No doctor has a right to withhold from mothers the information no scan can show...that love is stronger than fear.

Six years ago I didn't think I could do it, but I did it precisely because I wasn't alone.

Don't leave frightened mothers alone.  Acknowledge their fear.  Tell them, you can't do this...but WE can.

Louise didn't die but through her I know so many mothers whose child did pass away.  They are not superhuman, they are ordinary just like you and me.  I have yet to meet one who would turn back the clock and pick a different child. Yes, it's sad, yes, breathing can sometimes be the goal of a day...but even then, they'd still choose the baby with the short life, because love is stronger. Love will always be stronger.  It's ok to love a sick child, it's ok to love a disabled child, it's ok to love a child who will die.

What's not OK is that the western world has forgotten this.  The western world has forgotten love.

Jennifer

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