Sunday, February 20, 2005

Lenten Sacrifice

Kate of "Heart Speaks to Heart" wrote a wonderful post on Lent. She talked about the difficulties she and her husband have had (I certainly understand about financial difficulties) and what she has learned from it. I must say, I've found it hard this Lent. I'm not supposed to fast, because I'm pregnant. And while I haven't touched what I've given up for Lent (boy am I glad I didn't pick chocolate), it's hard to see anything as a sacrifice as we're losing our daughter. And yet, I suppose she's not really a sacrifice, because I'd keep her with me forever if I could.

Some people have decided to make this blog a place for debate. They seem to assume that our baby could live, even briefly, outside of the womb. They equate a beating heart with life. And most of the time, they're right. I just wonder what about the medium of blogging allows them to think that they know more about our situation than my doctors or myself and my husband.

For anyone who questions my commitment to life, I encourage you to read my previous posts. But is life support the same thing as life? If I had to induce at 38 weeks, would I be any less guilty of ending her life early since the outcome will be the same? And how much risk should I take with my life when I have three children who still need me?  These and a hundred questions like them have been thought through and asked out loud. I have had incredible support from my doctors and councilors and parish pastoral ministers who have been open for questions at any time. Dominic and I have talked through each of these questions and prayed. I have continued to ask the saints for intercession.

I knew when I wrote our decision that there would be people who wouldn't understand, or wouldn't see the whole picture. I'm not sure we understand the whole picture. I don't think we can. But my faith is not shaken. My belief that there is a whole picture or a plan that I am not privy to is still strong. My belief in the sanctity of life is strong, and I will continue to fight in my own way for the rights of the unborn. Mother Theresa said that one of the greatest ways to fight abortion was to have a big family. I pray that God will still allow us to have one.

But in the end this isn't the forum to debate. I know that people mean well, but it comes across badly. The truth is I love my daughter with everything I have within me. I loved her yesterday, and I will love her tomorrow, and I will love her for eternity. I pray every day that she can feel my love within me. But when she leaves me, she will go straight into the arms of Christ, and I cannot begin to compete with that kind of love. How much I love her doesn't change who she is, or her prognosis.

Perhaps God will take pity on me in my grief. I've been contracting all night, and praying that it's the start of early labor. Believe me, I never wanted this decision in the first place.

My emotions are a minefield, and my head is full of unspoken and unwritten thoughts. I am exhausted by grief and pain. And yet, there is no rest as mommy is still needed. Please pray for us.


1'A visitor' posted on the Tue 22 Feb 2005, 3:18 pm

Anne, I realized that maybe you meant my comment when you said "the heartlessness of reminding me that she's a person and a human." When I posted before, I only meant to say that a doctor told *me* that *my daughter* was not a human being because Emily's brain did not form and because she could not live. I'm sorry if I was an idiot and it didn't come out that way.I have read some of your other pre-diagnosis blog entries and I know full well that this was never an issue for you, only that some doctors can be rather meanspirited and that like your daughter's condition, my daughter's was universally fatal with a zero survival rate. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, if my entry was the one that you were referring to. I know you cherish and love your daughter.


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