If I'd known then what I do now, I'd have wanted him to die in my arms'
This is a really good article…and deserves way more than a quick FB comment. I think it poses some questions that require way more dignity than just a reaction.
She asks if we are always right to save premature babies because sometimes it is only "post-poning the inevitable…" But does any one think that it does justice to a child for a parent to say “It would be better if you were not alive.” She comments that it is “a great taboo to wonder if she should have let her son go when he was born so fragile and weak.” It is a great taboo for a reason. Would anyone ever want to hear “you’d have been better off dead” from their parents? Death is always inevitable. No one wants to bury a child. Still, isn't it the case that whether we know, (however much we can really know anything about such things), that our child may die as a teenager or die as an adult... isn't it still a reality that death is always inevitable?
What this mom is contending with is suffering.
And the question comes down to this…Can suffering make life meaningless to the point that it is not worth living?
The article glances by the “numbers of over-45s having babies doubling in a decade and IVF multiple births also on the rise, premature babies are becoming more common”…Whoa…why is that? Post 45 pregnancy? IVF multiples? Some combination of both? Interesting that this does not get closer examination but the question of whether to withdraw care is the main point. Are we contributing to these problems some how, (NOT Pearce specifically. I’m not saying that. I’m just asking if "health care" and/or fertility treatment as a whole are ignoring some of the problems or risks that it creates).
I’ll tell you what, I would not want Dr. Bob Welch anywhere near the delivery room when my kids come into the world. Maybe, he just got a badly contextualized quote, but I would want a stubborn doctor that is rooting for my kids to live, regardless of whether they are screamers or not.
Pearce shares about the impact Nathan has had on their family and how he has made his older brother “a very kind little boy.” I hope she doesn’t underestimate the value of that. This is not something to be looked at in terms of cost or pain/reward benefit. You cannot quantify the value of what Nathan and his brother are receiving from one another. They will carry that with them the rest of their lives. Who knows how much humanity and grace is brought into the world because of Nathan?
Now, obviously I’ve never been a mother, and I’ve never experienced suffering that is similar to what this Mom has endured. The “walk a mile in their shoes first” factor is real here. On the other hand, suffering is a universal. We all know what it feels like to some degree or another.
Life is messy, painful, dirty and difficult. But it is also beautiful and if we quantify it’s value on the level of suffering or success involved, and God forbid, the cost of health care on the national dime, we have lost something real and are complicit in some sort of dehumanization of ourselves.
I do agree with her that people shouldn’t be sold a false bill of goods telling them that life is going to be a Disney movie. She is the mother of a child who is going to have to fight harder than most in order to get less than most everyone else. That is no joke. However, suffering doesn’t get the last word here.
Articles like this remind me of all the things we love about movies like “Life is Beautiful” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” If it wasn’t difficult at times, there would be no such thing as heroism. But we press on.