Monday, January 14, 2013

What Kind of Choice Is That??

It's been two weeks since Emilee's death and that's given me a lot of time to think about a lot of things.  It's also given me the time, against my better judgement, to read some of the other blogs and comments that have been posted regarding Emilee, Leila Grace, anencephaly and suicide.  I will never cease to be amazed at how, from beneath the cloak of anonymity, some people will say the cruelest, most heartless things I have ever seen or heard.

I will only briefly address those types of people, because I don't honestly know that I can say anything that will heal whatever deep hatred or pain that they are feeling.  I can only say that I hope one day they will realize the sorrow they cause others with their own despair and begin working toward healing themselves.

More on my mind have been the comments I've seen where well-meaning people have said something to the effect of "If only her family had known the pain that choosing to continue carrying her baby would have caused her, they would have urged her to reconsider."

I want to be very clear here... the choice given to a parent when they find out that their baby has a fatal birth defect is this:  "Your baby can die now or your baby can die later."  Sound harsh?  That's because it really is.

Whether the parents choose to carry the baby to term or choose to terminate, the end result is going to be devastating. The pain that Emilee was feeling, the pain that all of us who have been in her shoes feel...that's the pain from losing a child.  It is not a pain specific to whether we choose to carry to term or whether we choose to terminate. Both options are heart-breaking because either way, all of the hopes that we once had for the little life growing inside of us change. We don't get get to dream about watching our babies grow up, get married and have babies of their own...instead, we are left hoping that we get at least a few precious moments of life to gaze into those little eyes or feel the squeeze of tiny fingers on our own.  That is the pain we face.

If you talk to a community of moms who have felt that pain...rarely will you find one who regrets her decision to carry to term but you will find many more wishing that they had decided not to terminate. (I am not, by any means, saying that all will regret their decision but I have seen more than I can count that I have said "I wish...")

I hope that if someone in your life is unlucky enough to have to face that "choice" that you will support them no matter what they decide.  It is not your job to talk them into one or the other...unless you are a parent of that child, you don't get a say.  At the end of the day, those parents need your support...not your opinions, not your criticisms and certainly not your judgement.


  1. Yes, both options are hard and they both will result in death, but I think what is trying to be conveyed is that Emilee with her fragile state probably would have dealt better had she not gone through birthing, bonding, then burying this baby. She was very fragile emotionally more so than most of us. I don't think either choice deserves criticism. Choosing to carry to term, or choosing to end a pregnancy doesn't mean you love your child more than the other does. Many believe to birth is to allow suffering and many believe birthing means giving a child a shot at life. Women should make the choice that is right for them.

  2. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and well-worded comment. You are absolutely right that neither choice deserves one knows how they will handle a situation until they find themselves in the middle of it. At that point, all we can do is pray that we make the right choice and go in one direction or the other. Above all, my point is that it is not for anyone to question the decision she made...because she did what she felt was best and we have no right to detract from that decision after her death. As much as she loved Leila, Emilee would be mortified to see people suggesting that she should not have carried her as long as possible. Thank you again for reading and sharing your thoughts.