Sunday, November 11, 2012
The gift of life
Today I feel prompted to talk about something that is a little sensitive. The topic is life...the gift of life. It's a hot topic...people are very passionate about their position. I don't want to take away someone else's opinion....just share mine and why I feel so strongly about it.
I want to talk about how a woman feels when she is pregnant....and has happily carried that baby to second trimester....and is waiting to find out if they are having a boy or a girl. It's an exciting time...you may or may not have bought some clothes....if it's your first child you may have started putting the baby's room together. Everyone in your life knows you are having a baby. And then it happens. You go to your ultrasound....grasping your husband's hand excitedly....and suddenly there's a knot in your stomach as you watch the tech's face drop...or the doctor doesn't talk for awhile as he's looking at the ultrasound pictures. Suddenly the happy, beautiful, sunshine day has turned dark, dreary and so very sad. You are told your child has Spina Bifida. You are blown away. You don't even know what that means. You cry and you ask what it all means. You are told things like: your child might not walk, might be cognitively delayed, might have bowel and bladder problems, might have brain damage, might not live. You are told that your child will not live a productive life. You are told you have a small window to terminate your pregnancy. In our case we were 19 weeks pregnant. Almost half our pregnancy. When you see ultrasound pictures, the "fetus" looks like a baby. In your heart this is a baby. And how do you process all of the doom and gloom the doctors tell you? How do you figure out which path to take when someone from the medical field that you trust tells you it's okay to terminate your pregnancy? When you are told worst cast scenarios, but in reality the doctor can't tell you exactly what to expect until the child is born. How can we think about doing something so permanent to a child who has no voice? Aren't we, as parents, supposed to be their voice from the very beginning? And shouldn't the medical field support that notion? No one told us that our child would have such a sparkly personality....that he would have the strongest disposition and not let anything stop him....no one told us that he would melt our hearts every day. Why? Because they can't....but they also can't determine what kind of challenges the child will have from an ultrasound. So what does a parent do with that? Where do they turn? Who do they trust? They go to the internet....they search day and night...for hope...for a sign of joy in a scary land. If they are lucky, they will find some pretty amazing parents who are willing to share their life with them to give them the strength to go through the hardest thing they have ever been through. If they are lucky they see some pretty amazing children LIVE. And if they are lucky....they realize that life is a gift...and just because their child has a diagnosis....it doesn't mean that is who they are. All of the children I know that have Spina Bifida are first and foremost children. They are people....they do amazing things...yes...some things take longer for them....or maybe they won't do some things that other kids do....but that is just a small part of who they are. They have smiles that brighten a room....they have strength that you never thought a child could have....they are the hardest workers...and they love their life. Their life is a gift.
I feel so blessed to have an amazing group of women around me who are willing to put themselves out there, share their innermost feelings to help other soon to be mothers. I am so blessed to have mothers who share their daily struggles and joys...so that we can all get through the highs and lows and know that we are all going to be ok. There are scary moments...we've all had them...and been there for each other. We've also rejoiced together...these women make my little world complete. They laugh with me and they cry with me. When I have questions...they are there with answers. Not one of us regrets this gift we've been given...it's actually the opposite. We feel humble, blessed, and incredibly happy that these children are in our homes.
I feel strongly that it is my responsibility to talk about this....to share these feelings with all of you. You see, there might be a mother...a scared, confused mother.....who doesn't know what to do. They might read this and feel a little hope...they might ask me for more information. And then they can enter this circle of mothers...this strong group of amazing people.....and KNOW that they can handle anything....and that this life is a gift.