Monday, January 18, 2010

Drawing a Line in the Pain :: Part 2

I promised last week that I would have a follow-up post to my discussion of perinatologists and new moms. I haven't been able to find the words for follow-up. So, instead, I am going to piece together some thoughts I shared among friends last week - and then move on. Because at this time, I'm not sure what else to do. Pray. And keep moving on.

I am baffled that we as humans consider it our responsibility to determine other's quality of life before birth. Perhaps a degree behind our name makes us feel we have the right to determine the outcome of someone else's life. To a doctor, standing in the presence of a young woman, to say the baby she is carrying will have a life filled with surgeries or pain or death --- how does any human know for certain, really? We don't.

Or even the parent, being told devastating news. There's no degree there behind that name. I am sure that as much as is humanly possibly, the mother considers all that is said to her and draws on her faith and morals and background to make the best decision she can.

But we hear stories of the mistakes. From stories as 'insignificant' as the baby seen on ultrasound as a girl magically comes out a boy. What? Doctors / ultra sound techs / humans can make mistakes? Really?

What about the baby whose heart defect turns out not as severe as was first thought. Or is healthy?! The baby whose poor health reports prior to birth somehow don't surface at all. What then?!

OK. What about the heart that is broken more than first thought? What if the mom who is told her baby will live given the right surgeries and the right intervention. What if they were wrong? What if her baby dies?

What then?

Who's to say where this line is, any way?

I mean, what if you somehow knew before your baby was born that she would grow up to give birth to two babies with heart defects. And there would be pain in your baby's adult life. Should she have to endure it?

Should the man who will eventually develop Parkinson's or the woman who is stricken with breast cancer, should he/she not be allowed to endure the pain? Should their mothers have drawn the line before there was pain?

Where do you draw this line?

The reality is life is full of pain - or trials - circumstances that do not bring us joy. Perhaps spiritual pain. Perhaps emotional. Perhaps physical. Should we not be allowed the chance to live those moments for the subsequent joy that follows? For is there not a rainbow following the rain?

Can you endure what life will give you and choose to make something good of it?

Yes, you can.

Yet, why do we not?
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