Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Brave And Crazy

I'm not entirely sure how a grieving mother can avoid being both brave and crazy. It's brave to get up every morning and face the day. Though I admit I am only able to do so with a great deal of help from God. And it's crazy to have so many thoughts, hopes, dreams, and desires all at the same time. I know often I'm left feeling a bit like Sybil. But when my best friend said that I was either brave or crazy to write about all of this on my blog, I was really surprised. It had never occurred to me to do anything else. I'm a thinker, it's what I do, and if I don't have some sort of outlet for that I go a little more nutty than usual.

I knew that some people would disagree with our decision. I knew that they would think it was better to carry the baby to term. It never occurred to me that people would think that I was having an abortion. That I was responsible for my baby's death if I did this, and not the complete malformation of her brain. It has shocked me that people have come here calling me a "wolf in sheep's clothing" saying that it's easy for me to kill my baby because I've done it before (referring to my abortion at age 17 which still brings me pain and for which I have confessed and received absolution). Or that I'm no better than Michael Shiavo. Or that this is my lesson since I'm obviously a gay-hater-freak-pro-lifer. Good thing my gay friends don't know about that.

The truth is, I never saw this as a "right to life" issue. She can't live. There's nothing I can do about her life. And carrying her is a risk to me. I never thought that the Catholic church would want me to chose the riskiest path for myself to give my daughter a few extra weeks in the womb. I would do that if it would help. I would lay down my own life if it could save her. It can't. I never believed that they would compare an abortion procedure (which I was offered and refused) to the labor and delivery of my baby.

I suppose it was also crazy to think that people would hear "I don't want negative comments" just because I wrote it down. This is blogging world, where everything is everyone's business, and I did write the post after all. So, while I'm going to continue to delete comments, I'm no longer going to worry about them too much.

Just so any Catholic coming here knows, I joined the church with a great deal of excitement and joy. I still love the church. I did look into current Catholic teaching, and it states that a woman in my situation should take the riskiest path in order to give her dying child the longest amount of time on earth possible, and that any interference is abortion, unless you are about to die. So, those of you who induced at 38 weeks because that was "term", really by the same logic, you're as guilty as I am. I just wanted to clear up the misconception that I didn't know that.

I disagree with the church on this. This issue is not addressed very specifically by the catechism, nor has it been spoken of ex-cathedra by the Pope. This is the thinking of a council of bishops. I give the Magesterium a great deal of respect, but on this we disagree. The church has been wrong in the past on other issues. And I know that others would use the same logic for issues on which I agree with the Magesterium. My husband are wondering where this leaves us. Should we still be Catholic? It's a question I refuse to answer right now. I have enough to think about. But we are not hypocrites. I have never believed that an early induction for a baby with fatal prognosis was wrong, especially when the mother's life is at risk. Nor have I ever stated so. And I think Catholic teaching is clear on the importance of following your conscience.

Am I brave? I'm not sure. I dreamed about the birth last night. She was small and covered in hair. I could touch the top of her head and feel the meningocele. Am I crazy? In my dream she didn't die, she just cried and wanted to be cared for. She took to the breast and I took her home. Then she was bigger, like my other babies, and feisty. I know this cannot be. But I still wish it were. People seem so convinced that there could be a miracle and she could be healed. I wish for that, hope for that, pray for that. But couldn't God make a miracle and make her live and be healthy even now? I believe it's possible for Him to do both. They do not.

You can question my judgment, or my research. I suppose one could question whatever they want. But you are wrong if you question my love for my baby, my love for my God, or my love for my family. I am still pro-life. And I still believe what I am doing is right.

Thank you to all the people who have offered support, even when disagreeing with me on abortion and politics.

Brave and crazy. Maybe I'm both. And neither.


1'AnneBasso' posted on the Wed 23 Feb 2005, 7:06 pm

Louise, that's exactly what I did. I prayed and talked with my catechist. She has a law degree and is an unmarried Catholic woman who has devoted her life to the church. She gave me a great deal of peace, getting to principles that lie below the letter of current teaching.Then I lit a candle for our daughter and prayed before the Eucharist. How I felt when I left is totally subjective, and not indicative of the will of God. But I felt much more at peace.

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