Dear OB: You looked me in the eye and told me my son was sick and his heart had many defects. You talked about his chances of living; slim to none. You told me I had a responsibility to my living children and that should this boy live his life it will be within the walls of a hospital. You said he will steal all of his mother’s attention; he would steal his mother’s precious time. You told me my marriage wouldn’t survive and my other boys would suffer. You told me to terminate my pregnancy.
You were right about him being sick.
You were right that he didn’t have much of a chance at life outside the womb. Yet you never considered the life he would live within the womb. You couldn’t see that he was my baby, that continuing my pregnancy gave me the opportunity to love, nurture and mother him longer. You couldn’t see that if his whole life was only months long, weeks are significant, so that time for us mattered.
You were wrong about my marriage.
It wouldn’t end. You had no idea what we’ve experienced previously as a couple, and you couldn’t see the well-cemented foundation our relationship stands on. You didn’t remotely know us; we only just met you.
You didn’t know me.
You told me so confidently that I would change my mind and would be back to end my pregnancy. You told me I would be so full of anxiety and so stressed out that, without a doubt, I would want to get it over with. When I asked you if you ever thought that maybe, by the time my son would be born, I would have made peace with his short life, you looked at me like I was crazy and said that would never happen.
You were wrong.
You didn’t know me or the capabilities of my heart. I didn’t experience any of what you predicted. Instead, I felt connected. I flooded my son with love — giving him a lifetime of love within months. I felt blessed every day he was still with us. I wrote to him, I danced with him, I went to prenatal yoga classes with him, and I gave him a life worth living while he was alive. On the day he was born, my heart was heavy but I was at peace with our journey. Mr. OB, you were wrong!
You, sir, aren’t a mother.
So, I don’t expect you to understand. But I do expect you to not pretend as you do. You should know that every person will have a different experience. Every mother has the right to choose what’s best for her and what she feels is the most loving choice in pregnancy for her baby, herself, and her family. You, sir, can’t answer those questions for her.
Related: Decisions In Grief
Your job is to offer options.
With all due respect, in the future please offer all options that are safe and appropriate — even if they are not ones you would choose. What you don’t seem to understand is there is no saving a mom from heartbreak when her baby dies. Not at 6 weeks, not at 4 months, and not at 9 months.
A dead baby equals a crushed and heartbroken mom. It’s true that for some ending the pregnancy sooner than later is the most loving choice. However, for others, it only complicates grief. Either way, a mother is losing her baby. So maybe next time, give love, offer support, and provide all safe options and show a little less judgment and negativity.
The mom you couldn’t understand
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