This is a sensitive issue for any prospective parent. We have advanced so much that some conditions can be identified while your baby is still in the womb. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, the gynaecologist explained that we could have a test done to see if our baby had Down syndrome (Amniocentesis). We would then have the option to abort or at the very least know what to expect. Hubby and I discussed this and decided that despite all of that, it simply didn’t matter. We would have this baby no matter what and would take on whatever life threw at us. Thankfully, our first baby boy was born “normal” in every way possible and so too, our next two children.
The thing about making this kind of decision is that you truly don’t understand what you are up against, should it materialise. How could you? Only when you go through something yourself, do you truly understand. Then, there’s the moral compass which points you in a direction that no matter how much you try to avoid following it, you are pulled back on its track. A limbo state that leaves you confident in the decision to “do the right thing“. But right according to who’s standards?
Driven by love and a bond formed from the day you knew of your baby’s existence, there’s just no way you could ever make a decision to abort.
I’ve seen the question asked before by some parents who had received the diagnosis of their foetus having Hydro. They want to know what lies in store for them, what to expect once their baby is born. My heart goes out to them each time because I know, to an extent, what lies ahead for them. It’s quite possibly a lifetime of surgeries (definitely from the day they are born), uncertainties and an overwhelming feeling of not being in control of anything. I’m speaking from my own experience of living with this condition. It’s most certainly one that I do not wish upon any of my kids. Truth be told, I don’t know how I would handle it if the roles were reversed, with them being the ones to undergo brain surgery. So, for those parents who endure this part of their child’s journey and come out smiling, you have my utmost respect and admiration.
Parents seem to have a concern as to whether or not their child would be “normal“. They want to know if they will be limited in the type of activities they can do and what life would be like in general. My own children have taught me that they are resilient in all situations, they grow from strength to strength and absorb the state of their environment by conforming. They adapt and face challenges head on. The thing about us humans, we forget things from our early childhood very easily and hardly remember a time when things were bad. Children are excellent at this, adults not so much…Your child will be as “normal” as their condition allows them to be. But, they will be the best version of themselves despite the challenges that lay ahead. It will be a road that brings heartache, tears and hurdles beyond your own understanding. However, I would like to believe that along with all of that, you will travel a road that will leave you awestruck and amazed most days. We learn to appreciate this life we have regardless of what is thrown at us.
You make the decision now that your child will have to live with for the rest of their life…Easy?
I’d think not at all!
The question that begs in my mind, is to ask anyone born with this condition, do you think it’s been a life worth living? What are your highs and lows comprised of? Also, for parents who knew of their child’s fate, do you think they would have been better off had you made the decision to abort? Or, if you never had the option presented to you, would you have chosen this path, especially if it meant they didn’t physically have to endure all that they have?
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I blog about Hydrocephalus and Selective Mutism to give a voice to the millions of people around the world with this condition and disorder. As much as these experiences are unique to me and my family, I’m sure others have experienced it too. My aim…to shine a light on it and raise awareness – simple and challenging at the same time but worth it!