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my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Monday, November 22, 2004 ::

Remember the mom with breast cancer? The mom that doctors advised to abort her daughter at 5 months? She had a breast removed during pregnancy but not her baby. For a while, it was looking good for this young mother. But, as is often the case with cancer, it has come back with a vengeance. Things are pretty bleak.

I want to reiterate that there is no indication that this mother would have survived cancer-free if she had aborted. I have read plenty of medical studies where physicians advised late term abortions for maternal cancer, and plenty of those mothers aborted only to die any way. I realize the moms were frantically trying to survive, but I think it would have been better for only one person to die instead of two. The thing is... doctors can't really offer certain stakes. It's all hypothetical. Life or death with maternal disease of this caliber? Sometimes. Sometimes not.

I personally know a mom who was given pretty daunting odds unless she aborted her baby. She had breast cancer and chose NOT to abort. She and her baby are fine today. She is 100% cancer-free. That isn't to say that a year from now her cancer won't come back and kill her. Cancer is nasty. It doesn't play fair. And doctors don't know everything. So sick moms are left to make a choice that they may or may not really have to make. What's a mother to do?

Oh you hear moms say, all the time, that they would "die" for their children. It's so cliche; the weakest of all weak things is virtue untested by fire. But moms who put their money where their mouth is, moms who don't kill their children to save their own hides... well these moms are too good for this world.

I'm not trying to attack sick moms who have aborted. I have a pretty nasty pregnancy related maternal illness myself. Death has been a real consideration at times. One good staph infection in your PICC line is really all it takes, and I had that. Treatments can be risky, but you have to have them.

I've not had cancer in pregnancy, but I understand, at least, scared moms who are sick of suffering and don't want to die. Believe me, I do. I've been one of them, and I've sacrificed a child's life in the second trimester because of suffering and fear. But I have also suffered and been afraid for my life and not sacrificed a child, and by far that was the more admirable, more compassionate, more right thing to do... no matter my own personal outcome. I can understand abortion for maternal health reasons, but I don't regard it as honorable.

My husband and I were pondering hyperemesis gravidarum last night and marveling at how the mother suffers and depletes until she resembles, nutritionally, a dried piece of chicken jerky... but the child takes what she needs and is healthy as a plum.

Evidently, when there is a problem, nature dictates that the child's needs come first and that it is the mother who must sacrifice. In studies where moms developed such truly, imminently life-threatening complications such as Wernicke's encephalopathy, the baby often died (followed by the mother if not treated). So in cases where Mom is down to the wire... it seems only then is nature willing to give the child up in a last ditch effort to give the mother a fighting chance. The body may be generally more certain (than a physician) in the knowledge that it is dying; physicians may give up too soon.

I'm no medical professional. I realize there may be other instances where the child's health is "naturally" sacrificed before the mother's in high risk pregnancies. I simply don't know of them. Email me if you have something real to offer on the subject. I'm curious to ponder it.

Anyway... I've veered waaay off the path of the original post intent. It's a sad and fascinating subject.

I really only wrote to introduce the mom with cancer, the one that many of us have been praying for, the one that many of us sent donations and gifts to, the mom who did not abort her daughter to save her own skin, the mom who is too good for this world...

She is not doing well
She made a courageous choice of honor that saved her daughter's life
She is not sorry.

Here is her picture (notice her two crowning glories):

For those that attend prayer groups, please oh please print out this image and share it. If any want to send Mom or her children anything, please let me know, and I will help you make arrangements.

:: ashli 9:49 AM # ::

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