Wedding Woes

Oh gah, this is so, so personal.

*tw* Baby loss discussed. 

Dear Prudence,
After years of trying, a few months ago I found out I am pregnant. I am older than most first-time moms, so they have done testing on my baby to make sure things are OK, and they are not. My baby has a rare chromosomal disorder and will not survive very long after birth. The baby has severe defects, and I worry about the quality of life for the baby’s time with me. One of the options I have been given is to terminate my pregnancy. I feel this would be the best for the baby, but morally I am having a hard time deciding to do this. I support the right to choose, but an abortion is something I never would have considered for myself. I am in therapy, but I am so conflicted. Any advice on how to make a good decision and then make peace with it?

—Living Nightmare

Re: Oh gah, this is so, so personal.

  • I'll admit that I am a more conservative member of the group but I would keep the baby.   If it helps, I would advise the LW to talk to other mothers who faced similar circumstances who DID opt to keep the child.

    Vivandiere8MesmrEweILoveBeachMusic
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I've read accounts from women who were in similar situations who chose not to terminate, and how hard it was for them throughout their pregnancy to "put on a happy face" and politely field the typical comments from excited and happy family and friends and even strangers, knowing full well that their child was likely going to be born stillborn or die very shortly after birth.

    They all pretty much said it was excruciating and emotionally draining to pretend everything was normal and fine when someone would exclaim, "Congratulations!  You must be so excited!"

    Many were relieved in a way to miscarry.  It's all very heart wrenching to read.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    short+sassyInLoveInQueens[Deleted User]
  • There is a woman in my ministry that knew her son would not live long.  She pretty much did what @charlotte989875 suggested.  They sought counsel from the doctors, several priests, and a therapist.  Their son was not facing pain, but he only lived a very short time.  They were able to have him baptized and spend time loving him.  She admitted doing the happy face during pregnancy was hard, and I admit it was hard to always feel comfortable knowing what to say to her.  For HER it was the best decision to carry.
    MesmrEwemrsconn23short+sassy
  • This is a woman who needs a good genetic counselling team. FTR I was referred into genetic counselling immediately after finding out I was pregnant because of family history. My team was amazing. I do agree though, you need to do what you are comfortable with and not let anyone else sway you. 
    PrettyGirlLostshort+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • Seeking the counsel of other Moms who've been in her shoes is her best way to go.  Chances are given what the LW wrote, she'll beat herself up for eternity far worse if she terminates than if she carries the baby to term knowing the challenges ahead because of the "what if" because genetic testing has been known to go both ways (inaccurate results at a high percentage in both directions)..  There is still a chance the baby could be healthy with relatively few complications, or that the complications can be managed.  Only the LW has all the facts of her case though...
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    OurWildKingdom
  • MesmrEwe said:
    Seeking the counsel of other Moms who've been in her shoes is her best way to go.  Chances are given what the LW wrote, she'll beat herself up for eternity far worse if she terminates than if she carries the baby to term knowing the challenges ahead because of the "what if" because genetic testing has been known to go both ways (inaccurate results at a high percentage in both directions)..  There is still a chance there by could be healthy with relatively few complications, or that the complications can be managed.  Only the LW has all the facts of her case though...
    I can definitely see the "what if" questions being devastating afterwards.  Actually, going back to the pet euthanizing metaphor, when I put down my first rabbit, for the longest time I was plagued myself with the endless "what if" questions, whether he might have gotten better, or if I was doing him a disservice with not giving him the chance to die when he wanted.  Much as I love my animals (and my first rabbit was AMAZING and I friggin miss him so much even though it's been almost a decade), I can't imagine how much more amplified that would be for a  baby that you've been trying so hard to conceive.  

    short+sassy
  • This is such a hard decision- there is no right or wrong answer. No one can make the decision but the LW. I hope she does find a support group she can talk with and has been able to talk to a genetic counselor to get all the information she needs.

    One of my previous co-workers was in the same situation. Trisomy 18. She decided to abort. The whole thing was devastating all around. She was excitedly telling her friends and family about her pregnancy when she hit the 12 week mark (she had been trying for awhile as well), but then found out about the genetic testing results at 15 weeks after further investigation due to something found on a routine ultrasound. Devastating to find out those results, to have to "go back" on all of her earlier excitement and tell everyone the news, and then to make the decision and move on from there. She did become pregnant again (fortunately a healthy baby- her second son). But she kept her entire pregnancy very hush-hush and struggled with allowing herself to feel excited because she was so afraid of the possibility that the pregnancy could be anything other than healthy.

    I very much agree with your pet analogy @short+sassy. Being involved in that realm, as well as working in a hospital, has shaped how I view this issue, so I know what side I fall on. Of course no one ever truly knows what they'd do until they are in that position. Speaking of animals, I had to put down my beloved 19 year old cat almost 2 years ago now. My regret was that I should have done it sooner- did I keep him alive too long selfishly hoping he'd get better? (his onset of illness and euthanasia occurred in less than a week).

    But hindsight is 20/20, and you can only make a decision based on the information you have available to you at the time in the frame of mind your are in.
    kimmiinthemittenshort+sassycowgirl8238
  • i'm guessing the father is not in the picture - it doesn't seem that his feelings have been mentioned.
    I'm pretty sure that I know what I would do in her shoes, and DK's opinion as well, but it's something that the mother (and father, if in the picture) need to discuss ans get to a point where they can live with their choice - they can seek help from therapists, religious counselors, support groups, friends, family, etc. and should make an informed decision but ultimately it's the parent(s) choice to make. 
    charlotte989875MesmrEwe
  • I'll be the one to say it.  I do think there is a wrong answer.  I think it is morally wrong to consciously choose to produce a child who will know nothing but pain, suffering, and torment.  I think it is incredibly selfish to in effect torture your own child to death so that you don't have to deal with making a tough call. And I think the letter writer knows this, too.  She writes "I feel this would be the best for the baby, but morally I am having a hard time deciding to do this."

    I don't condemn anyone who can't find the strength to do what needs to be done.  It's not my place to condemn.  Navigating issues of life and death and guilt is HARD.  But in the end, I think it's kind of fucked up to deliberately leave your child to die in agony instead of acting to prevent that.
    DrillSergeantCatVarunaTTkimmiinthemittenredwoodoriginal
  • There are options to decrease suffering/pain once the baby is born until death. I'm pro-choice and find that the more information a person has and people that truly support her in whatever decision she makes will help her make a decision. I don't believe there is a right decision, only decisions that make sense for the people involved.
    short+sassyDrillSergeantCatcharlotte989875
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