Yesterday I was editing the Grief, Love and Hope page of this blog. I wanted to insert some links to several bookshops where my book is available. After I’d signed out and turned off the computer, I suddenly wondered if I should have mentioned that the book is a Doctors for Life book of the year. I feel reluctant to advertise this fact. After all, my book is such a little book in the whole scheme of things. But then again, I feel a lot of gratitude to these doctors who gave my son this special recognition. I want to say thank you.

A couple of years ago, we had an official book launch for Grief, Love and Hope. Throughout this launch, I shared the story of Thomas’ pregnancy, his birth, the grief we endured when he died and the suffering we experienced as we tried to get on with our lives without him. I’d put together a display of photographs: pictures of Thomas in on the life support machines, Thomas dying in our arms, Thomas in the funeral home, Thomas’ grave. His footprints, pall, gown, ear muffs and other items from his memory box were laid out for everyone to see. It was a very emotional day as I relived that grief filled time. But despite all the sad memories that came flooding back, I was able to remain calm and in control. At least I was calm until I was presented with the book award.

As I was handed the framed certificate, all my self control vanished.  I remember thinking, “Someone is acknowledging that Thomas’ life was important. He may have lived only one day but his short life had value. His story was worth telling.”

When a baby is diagnosed during pregnancy with a life threatening abnormality, so often an abortion is advised. It is as if the unborn baby is of no value. The slate can be wiped clean and the parents can ‘try again’ for a 'perfect' child. What is the point of giving birth to a child that will probably not live for very long? There is great pressure on parents to follow this advice. I was very fortunate because I had my faith and lots of support. But this does not mean it was easy facing the rest of the pregnancy and Thomas’ birth. No, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I was frightened. Every parent would be.

Thomas was here for such a short time. He spent his entire life in the neonatal intensive care ward hooked up to multiple machines. Then he died leaving very little trace that he’d ever been here on earth: a birth certificate, a death certificate, lots of sorrowful memories and a few broken hearts.

Many people may feel it wouldn’t have made any difference if Thomas had been born or not. Perhaps they think we could have avoided a lot of pain if we had aborted him. But I disagree. One way or another we would have had to face suffering. And the months we had with our son, changed our lives forever. His short life was a real blessing.

My story is not unique. Many parents have experienced the same sufferings as us as they have faced the premature deaths of their babies. I think the Doctors for Life book award wasn’t meant just for me and Thomas, but also for all these parents and all their babies, babies who have lived very short but very valuable lives.

Labels: , ,

Post a Comment

Author Name

Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Powered by Blogger.