Wednesday, July 20, 2011

'I'll be so proud'

Andy and Heather Skinner, from Darwen in Lancashire, were told that their unborn baby girl had a massive tumour covering the left chamber of her heart that was restricting blood flow. Specialists were convinced she would die in the womb and advised an abortion.

"I didn't want an abortion," said Heather. "I wanted nature to take its course. The thought of losing my baby was awful. I didn't know how to deal with it. We were left in a room and just cried."

Charley-Marie was born by caesarean section. Three days later, the couple were allowed to take her home. All they had bought for the baby were the clothes and a blanket to bury her in.

Charley-Marie is now 19 months old. She still has the tumour. Sometimes she gets out of breath, but otherwise she is like any other youngster.

"She loves Peppa Pig," says her mother, "and always has a cheeky smile on her face."

Says Peter Saunders, whose blog I can recommend: "I have lost count of the number of times I have heard stories like this. Why is it that the medical profession responds in this knee-jerk fashion recommending abortion for disabilities we would make every effort to treat or correct in a baby after birth?

"Why are not more parents given the opportunity, with proper support, to see their babies' births through? Why is it that offering surgery, other treatment, or if relevant, terminal care, to disabled, sick or dying babies seems no longer to be regarded as a serious option?

"Why has our society instead reached the conclusion that these most vulnerable members of the human race, because they are disabled, sick or dying, have lives that are somehow not worth living? That they are, in other words, better off dead?"

What do you think?

I have another question. What if the parents refuse an abortion and the child dies anyway?

Karen Palmer tells how ultrasound showed during her pregnancy that her baby had profound abnormalities and was not expected to live. She went ahead with the pregnancy. When the baby was born, the baby was peaceful and comfortable. She died just five hours after birth.

Karen and her husband evidently learned a great deal.

"What did we learn? We learned that God is intimately involved with us and with a tiny baby. We learned that even such a tiny, damaged life is precious to him. We learned better how to care for each other and our parents and friends. Our church learned how to care for us. We saw that terminating a pregnancy where there is an abnormality denies the parents and wider family the opportunity to grieve and remember a real and valuable member of that family. We learned that God answers prayer.

"After Jennifer's death, a steadfast friend said that when Jennifer arrived in heaven there would be great rejoicing and celebration because of all she achieved in her short life. I dream that when I arrive there people will say 'Ah! You're Jennifer's mother' and I'll be so proud!"