Monday, July 9, 2007

Message Board Comments

I won't be too specific, but occassionally I visit message boards for women who are pregnant and due around the same time I am. Today one woman posted that, at 22 weeks, the doctors discovered her unborn baby boy had the severest case of Spina Bifida they had ever seen and the "only option" was to terminate.

As I had to look it up, "Spina bifida is the most common disabling birth defect in the United States. It is a type of neural tube defect, which is a problem with the spinal cord or its coverings. It happens if the fetal spinal column doesn't close completely during the first month of pregnancy. There is usually nerve damage that causes at least some paralysis of the legs. Many people with spina bifida will need assistive devices such as braces, crutches or wheelchairs. They may have learning difficulties, urinary and bowel problems or hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain.
There is no cure. Treatments focus on the complications, and can include surgery, medicine and physiotherapy."

The woman on the message board and her husband decided to terminate the pregnancy and hope they will one day have children.

Now, first of all, I am very sorry that their son was diagnosed with such a birth defect. Any such discovery is quite trying on any parent.

That said, I quite simply cannot feel sorry for their loss and feel they do not deserve to be parents. They killed their child. Plain and simple. The child was not dying nor did he have a fatal disease. He had a birth defect that would require special care and treatment. According to the Spina Bifida Association, "The effects of Spina Bifida are different for every person. Up to 90 percent of children with the worst form of Spina Bifida have hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain) and must have surgery to insert a “shunt” that helps drain the fluid—the shunt stays in place for the lifetime of the person. Other conditions include full or partial paralysis, bladder and bowel control difficulties, learning disabilities, depression, latex allergy and social and sexual issues. Thanks to new medical treatments and technology, most people born with Spina Bifida can expect to live a normal life. People with Spina Bifida have many special challenges because of their birth defect, but their condition does not define who they are. People with Spina Bifida have careers, get married and have children just like people who don’t have Spina Bifida."

So simply because their child would have required special care, they killed him. All the replies on the message board were sympathy for their loss. I can't feel sorry for a murderer.

I would further add that I think the lack of humility of the doctors involved is quite disgusting. The "ONLY OPTION" is termination? What about the option of raising a challenging child? What about the option of loving their son? What about the option of having that little boy wrap his little arms around their necks and say, "I love you." They threw all that and more away because of a birth defect and they want me to feel sorry for them? No can do.

I didn't feel I could post this on the message board as it would be classified as "harsh," "unsupportive," and "insensitive." If that is how someone views my comments, feel free, but just consider how harsh, unsupportive and insensitive they were to their son who needed their love, support and care so much more.

1 comment:

  1. A couple at our parish when I was growing up had a daughter with Spina Bifida. The mother couldn't handle it and ended up leaving the family. But I've never seen a father love his child more. I remember her as a very happy little girl. My mother told me that she lived to her early 20s, even had an apartment and lived on her own for a while. To think that there are people who think she'd have been better off not living, makes me sad and angry.

    Yes, I'm upset with the parents. But I think the doctors who gave them such bad information are in some ways far more culpable. So many people have been trained to think of doctors as infallible experts. If a doctor tells you there's no other option and you've never met anyone with the condition or heard about other options, are you really making an informed choice? Yes, they should have done more research and looked at their options before making such a decision. But the saddest thing is there is so much pressure against keeping such a child and so much pressure to take the easy way out, that many people don't really have much real choice.

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