Saving someone’s life would be scary, but I wouldn’t hesitate to help someone in trouble. Watching someone die is incredibly heartbreaking and awful (I held my dog when we put him to sleep), but I wouldn’t hesitate to be there for someone to let them know I love them all the way to the end. I won’t pretend to be more courageous or stronger than I am, but I do think I can handle crises better than most.
Day 06: Something you hope you never have to do.
The most terrifying and unthinkable thing I could ever imagine having to do, would be to decide life or death for my child. I know that there are many parents who have had to face this decision, and many more who will for various reasons: possibility of the contraction of a disease, physical defects while in the womb, genetic disorders, childhood cancers, etc. I can not imagine being in the position where I have to say, “No, my child’s quality of life would be so abysmal, I’d rather terminate the pregnancy than bring them into this world to suffer.” After hearing Loreni and Miles’ story , I immediately asked my husband, “If I had the test done during pregnancy and found out our child had Down Syndrome, what would you want to do?” He didn’t know what to say, and I didn’t know how to answer the question myself.
My mother is a special education teacher, so I’ve seen and interacted with children with Down Syndrome since I was about 3 years old. Life is extremely difficult for not only the child, but especially for the parents. Development is slow, limited, and frustrating for all involved. However, as my husband pointed out, “They often seem like the happiest people in the world.” Regardless, they often have major and consistent health problems, and they don’t often live beyond the age of 50. The outlook is bleak compared to the life a child can live who does not have the disorder.
I can’t imagine the heartbreak that Loreni felt when her new child was brought to her and he looked nothing like her or her husband. Call me narcissistic, but isn’t that one of the biggest joys of childbearing: to create a new person who looks like the people who made him, and not only carries their genetic material, but also shows similar characteristics in personality? I can’t imagine my life being turned on its ear like that; I can’t imagine having to be stronger and get over it quickly enough to immediately begin my role as a mother to a child I don’t recognize or understand.
I don’t know what I would do in a situation where I had to choose life or death for my child in regards to quality of life. I’m not a mother yet, and maybe if I had already experienced the joys and sorrows of motherhood the decision would be easier to ponder. I do know that this is one crisis I hope I never ever have to deal with.