The Internet can be a wonderful thing. It allows us to stay in contact with family and friends around the world. We can meet new people with similar interests in online groups and clubs. Information on any topic is literally at our fingertips. What do you do when you have a question, about virtually anything? Google it.
I am a researcher. I am interested in absorbing as much knowledge as I can about topics that affect me and my life (except politics... I really couldn't care less so I choose to ignore it). These last two weeks, the Internet has been my lifeline. It was given me the ability to reach other mothers that have been through the hell of a poor prenatal diagnosis, and it has allowed me to pick up every bit of information about Leila's condition that I possibly can.
With my incessant longing for more knowledge, I've also come across the ugly side of the Internet. The bullies, the bashers, and in my particular situation, those who believe my baby is a "thing" and doesn't deserve to be carried with the possibility of being born living. On one blog, which discussed the topic of whether to abort a pregnancy with the diagnosis of Anencephaly or carry to term regardless, what I would consider a very ugly person wrote the following:
"You do know that any infant born with Anencephaly will never live a full life, right?! In the hefty case of anencephaly, I would strongly suggest an abortion before the "child" can be born. Anencephalic newborns almost always cannot hear, see, taste, smell, or feel pain, because THEY ARE BORN WITHOUT A FULLY FUNCTIONING BRAIN. I can only imagine the sheer terror, disbelief, disgust and sorrow that anyone has had to go through when giving birth to an Anencephalic baby. They just look like such vile creatures, and to call these things "fully-functioning children" is just wishful thinking. These newborns usually die within 24 hours after birth. Also, just looking at the baby with its exposed brain and bugged-out eyes makes me want to vomit... have a nice day."
Ouch. When I read those words, I felt like someone grabbed my stomach and twisted it into a knot. The first part of his statement is true: Anencephalic babies will indeed never live a full life, the majority do not have senses or feel pain, and they are born without a fully functioning brain, if any brain at all. But to call my sweet baby a "vile creature that makes you want to vomit"? To assume that when I give birth to my daughter, that I will be disgusted and terrified by her? Are these babies monsters? Are they so horrid and ugly that they don't deserve as long of a life as possible? Are they like injured horses that need be shot because they are of no use anymore?
I do understand the choice to terminate. I really do, and I would never judge a woman for making this choice. What I am fairly certain of is this: a mother that chooses to end her pregnancy early is not doing it out of fear of what her child will look like. She is doing it preserve herself, her mental and physical health, to allow her child to go to heaven sooner so as not to prolong the inevitable, and begin to heal. These mothers love their children just the same, but out of the two incredibly difficult choices (ones that I pray none of you ever have to make), they chose one road while some of us choose the other. Neither is wrong. Neither deserve such ugly, hateful arguments against them.
In conclusion, I want to respond to the gentleman I've quoted here in my blog rather than the forum where it was originally posted, because I like to avoid conflict. He doesn't have to see my response, and I don't have to deal with the backlash of his subsequent rants. I can still get it out in writing, and sleep soundly tonight knowing that I spoke my peace:
A BIG FAT MIDDLE FINGER TO YOU, SIR. Does it disgust you to look at yourself in the mirror? Because your moral deformities are horrifying. Do you feel that children born with physical abnormalities that are given the opportunity to life full lives are ugly and vile and that their parents are disgusted with them? My daughter may not look like a normal infant, but she is beautiful to me and to all the many people that love her. I will look past her imperfections and see the life I created with the man I love and be proud to say I gave her as much of that life as God allowed. I will see the life of a little girl that has touched so many people in her short time with us, and I will be thankful that I did not take that life away before it was her time. Do you see a term that has been repeated in this response multiple times? Life. She has been given one, regardless of how brief it may be and how different she may look. She's a miracle. Have a nice day.