This article was co-written by Kaila Mugford – writer at Still Standing and Diana Stone – editor and owner of Still Standing. The story itself belongs to Kaila who, twice, carried her sons through the same terminal diagnoses. We realize that this stance below is a very controversial topic (which covers a broad range of medical procedures that some may not even consider “abortion”). Yet we felt it was an important side to the conversation to address. While some may agree and others not, we ask that all conversation be kept respectful and civil.
Social media is unsafe for the loss community in this current political climate. The passed and revised late-term abortion law in New York and others that are being fought over bring forth a myriad of emotions in all sides.
Some cheered for the NY skyline lit pink in “celebration.” Yes, we know there are those celebrating the freedom of choice women are now allowed in NY, but we can not celebrate the death of millions of babies.
I see those pink lights, and it makes me wonder, “Do the people who decided this understand at all the emotions and pain surrounding abortion?”
Others seem to all too ready to spew out their hatred towards abortion. Post after post of images of unborn babies in the womb, triggering those who have lost children in any way more than the pro-choice community they’re aimed towards.
“HOW COULD YOU KILL THIS BABY?!” people scream through the keyboards.
However, the abortion rules are not because people want to kill perfectly healthy 40-week babies.
I haven’t met a person who’s ever said: “Yes, kill them” – even the most pro-choice people out there. Only about 1 percent of abortions nationwide are performed after 21 weeks, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The majority of most of us feel a deep sense of sadness for abortion, no matter which side of the spectrum we fall on.
And these laws, these type of laws, were written for families like mine. I was told, twice with six years in between, that I had to decide by 24 weeks to keep my sons or terminate my pregnancies. I chose to carry. The second time, I nearly died at the end of my pregnancy.
Can you imagine carrying a baby for an hour, knowing you would give birth to him and he would die?
Can you imagine carrying a baby for an entire day, knowing that he would struggle to breathe the minute he came out and you would watch helplessly as he turned blue in your arms?
Can you imagine carrying a baby for a week, or a month, knowing you’d be picking out an urn and making funeral arrangements instead of choosing a crib and planning a baby shower?
Can you truly imagine doing this? Put aside that instant, “Of COURSE I could” response. Because unless you’re in that situation, you have no idea what you would choose. I promise.
Many of you reading this don’t have to imagine these scenarios – it’s your reality like it is mine.
But I’m guessing that the vast majority of others cannot even possibly imagine. I have people tell me all the time, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through. It breaks my heart. I’ve wept for you.”
And in the next breath, they broadcast to Facebook, “But I know what I’d do if I were ever in that situation. I would do the right thing.”
I’ve made the “right” “Christian” choice twice. So many people have told me that I gave my sons life, but I see it differently. I postponed their deaths.
I’ve been celebrated as a face of pro-life. “Look at her; she chose to carry her dying babies. And people are killing healthy ones.”
And every single time someone says that about me, puts me on that pedestal, my heart hurts.
I see people judging those who wished they’d had the opportunity to terminate their pregnancies through medical induction (aka late-term abortion).
THIS judgment makes me just as sick as those pink lights in NY.
I chose to continue my last pregnancy, just like I did the first one, after once again discovering our son’s life-limiting diagnosis at 18 weeks — my 1lb 14oz tiny perfect boy. Only kept safe inside my body. Death was awaiting the minute he entered this world.
And then my husband and I were forced to choose to save my life through terminating the pregnancy – because that’s what it was called.
We took my son out of my body at 30 weeks, or I would have bled to death. We removed him and let him die to save my life. I’ve faced not one, not two, but three impossible decisions that most people cannot fathom ever making. If you’ve never had to make that kind of choice, that is called privilege.
There are instances where I’ve been met with shameful words, hurtful words. My faith was questioned. The very being of who I am, what I stand for, how I love, who I love, and how I love them was challenged. Only because I was put into an impossible situation that no mother should ever be put in.
I was judged for considering terminating for medical reasons. This condemnation came from good, loving people. But they were unable to love me in my most significant time of need.
I want to make this clear. You do not get to judge what kinds of medical decisions women should be making between themselves and their doctors. Ever. You do not get to tell them they have to carry a baby to term. That they have to be ok – thankful almost – waking up each day for weeks or months, knowing that death is going to immediately follow birth.
But at least they didn’t do anything to make anyone else uncomfortable with their decision. Right? At least they’ll sleep comfortably at night after this knowing that you don’t think they were “wrong.”
You. Are. Not. Allowed.
And since I lived this nightmare, twice, I do get a say.
Words will never describe what it was like to be me for six months of my life carrying dying babies. I felt like I was being ripped apart every single day. But I had no choice at 30 weeks pregnant. I could not ask, nor could a doctor decide, to help me end my pregnancy with a baby who was within weeks of his birth and inevitable death.
Because it was no longer my choice.
Did you ever consider that because of something like the late-term abortion in New York a family may get the only chance they have to meet their baby alive? Every single appointment, I was told, “He is running out of space. He may be dead at your next check-up.” It was not only possible but probable that he would die before birth.
My only chance to hold my son alive might have been through what the law defines as an “abortion.” What a backward reality.
If you knew you would be able to hold your baby as he died… if you knew you had a chance to hold him alive and rock him as he slipped away and into Heaven… what would you be willing to do to make that happen?
These late-term abortion laws were partially written for women with similar stories as mine.
They have a right to be able to tell their doctor, “Listen… I’ve gone as far as I can. My baby is sick and dying, and I need to hold them before death takes them away.”
I feel when God looked at me those two days of my life where I chose to carry my boys to term, his heart broke.
I feel like his voice was saying to me, “I am so sorry that this has happened to you. I love you, my sweet child. It was not supposed to be this way.”
And I know, if I had terminated either pregnancy, God would have loved me still.
So yes; it is monstrous to light up a building in celebration of the death of any baby. Whether that was the intended message or not – to millions of us it certainly seemed that way.
But I do not think it’s monstrous to allow women and families to have the choice to terminate for medical reasons – for the baby or the mother’s health – up to 40 weeks. That is such a deeply personal choice, and there are no winners either way.
No one wins in the end here.
When my day comes to meet my babies again, I will hold them in my arms and cry and cry. I will tell God, “I wanted my boys so bad on earth. So many of us did. And we just didn’t know what to do.”
And He will hold me. Rock me. Wipe my tears and tell me that he knew my choice, along with millions of other women, was made in love.
I didn’t choose death. Death chose me.
I made a very personal decision to say goodbye as late as possible, and that was my choice alone.
And I, with so many others, will stand by those families who choose otherwise.
**this post was last updated on 10/30/2019
My name is Kaila Mugford, wife to Jamey and momma to 4 sweet babies: Samuel, Mira, Edward, and Gabriel. My motherhood journey began and ended with grief, as Samuel and Gabriel were both given fatal prenatal diagnosis at their 20 week ultrasounds. We decided to carry to term and both died within hours of birth in my arms. Mira and Edward bring us joy every single day and we are grateful to be raising them this side of Heaven while at the same time grieving the loss of their brothers. I blog about our journey of joy and grief at kailamugford.blogspot.com.