I always err on the side of caution and optimism. I would always give life a chance.
Part 1: How Would You Answer This Issue?
I'm with Odrade here. Although its easy to say I know what I would do, it would not come without much heartsearching and pain. To blithely tell someone else what to do in a life and death situation is the height of arrogance. All you can do is give them support in what ever they decide to do. What a heartwrenching decision to be faced with.
If that baby's one year is spent without one day of agony, how is that just? I only bring that up because someone said that they baby would at least get one year of life. Still, that is the parent's decision alone, and is between them and their higher power or conscience.
Very hard question to answer. Their is no easy way for this couple and only they can make the decision.We had a child born with severe birth defects. We knew from our 1st ultrasound she would be a very sick child, but we were prepared for everything as we couldnt allow an abortion. Now we have left jw, I would have preffered an abortion over the hell we went through carrying our baby and the nightmare watching her die.But the again we wouldnt have held her beautiful body, named her and had all her family meet her for the short time she was here. Their are fors and againsts in every situation and they need to weigh these up
All the best for them
What a horrible situation. I would have told him that I couldn't make that decision for him and that I couldn't possibly know what God would think about it. I would have suggested that they talk to a professional counselor.
I don't even know what I would do in that situation. I wouldn't want to bring a child into the world just so it would suffer and then die. But then again, I don't think I have it in me to go through with an abortion.
That's a very sad situation and I wouldn't want to be in their shoes. I have nothing but the deepest sympathy for anyone in that position.
It would be immoral not to abort.
He then told me that his wife is pregnant, and that they have already done tests and confirmed that the baby will be extremely mongoloid. In fact, some of the medical opinion is that the baby will not live more than a year, and may not even have many needed brain functions, or a fully developed brain. Some of the brain cavity appeared extremely abnormal. His questions: "Given this terrible situation, do you think my wife should have an abortion? Will God hate us?" He broke down in tears.
I've always wondered about a God could let such things happen to his children.....
When it comes to such matters my mind falls into a "pure logic" mode. I would recommend the fetus be aborted.
How would I tell him this? Considering the circumstances, how could a loving god condemn a parent for doing such a thing? Wouldn't it be more cruel to force such a child to be born, suffer and then die so young?
When I was a kid another JW family discovered that the pregnancy was basically doomed to produce a severely retarded child and all of the Doctors recommended aborting the fetus. Being the loyal JWs they were they carried the pregnancy full term and as predicted the child was severely disabled both mentally and physically. He was supposed to die within a few months after birth but lived almost 20 years. He was basically a contorted vegetable that they carted around with them everywhere they went. They also racked up millions of dollars in heath care expenses. The required care created an enormous burden on the family and especially his mother who took on the majority of the care. Last time I saw her she was a broken shell of her former self.
In my opinion they would have been far better off if they had aborted the fetus.
When I was doing my nurses training, I met a woman who had faced a similar situation. In the first trimester, they found out that the baby had multiple birth defects that were incompatible with life. They were deeply religious, and made the decision to carry the pregnancy to term. They felt that they did not have the right to end their baby's life, however long (or short) that life would end up being. But they knew, with the magnitude of the birth defects present, that the baby would inevitably die shortly after birth.
As it turned out, the baby was born, and lived for less than an hour. For the remainder of the pregnancy, mom and dad marvelled as the baby moved inside her. They talked to the baby, played music for him. Finally, when he was born, they got to hear his first cry. They got to hold him and mom was able to put the baby to her breast and feed him. They bathed him, they dressed him, they kissed him, they sang Happy Birthday to him and take pictures of him. They brought in the grandparents for a chance to hold their grandchild. They kept holding him until he died. Then they still got to hold him afterward, while the nurses made cards with baby's hand prints and foot prints on them.
I met this woman many years after the events took place. While she wondered how things might have been different if he had been born healthy, she had absolutely no regrets about bringing the baby to term and spending that short time with her child and having those memories to cherish for the rest of her life.
Had it been me in her situation, I don't know that I would have the strength to do what she did. I couldn't possibly imagine myself in that situation and having to face that decision, and I would never ever dream of making or influencing that kind of decision for someone else.
I'm ethically not supposed to bring my belief system into the picture when discussing these kinds of issues with patients. We are supposed to help the patient explore their own belief system to make a decision that is consistent with their personal values.
Having worked with parents whose babies have died, I know the decision to terminate life support is a heart wrenching one. But in those cases, the parents could see the unacceptable quality of life that their child could expect to have, and felt it was the humane thing to do to allow them the dignity of a peaceful death.
This issue hits close to home in a couple of ways.
After my first child I had a small problem with a prolapsed uterus (probably what your mother had Jim). It wasn't an issue for me until I became pregnant with my second child. I went into early labor a couple of times. Was in and out of the hospital and on medications and bed rest to prolong the pregnancy. My daughter was born 1 month early and was healthy although premature. The doctors told me I would never be able to carry another child to term and either I or the baby and perhaps both could die if I tried this again. As good little JWs we thought long and hard about our choices. One choice was to undergo surgery and repair the damage and have my tubes tied. Another choice was that he should get get snipped. We considered whether it would be better for him (minor surgery) or me (major surgery) to have the surgery.
If something happened to me and he remarried he might want children with his new wife so him getting snipped was ruled out. Regardless of whether he died and I remarried I would not be able to have more children. It was most reasonable for me to have the surgery, especially since I was going to have surgery anyways to repair the damage. The thought of winding up pregnant and being faced with the decision for a therapeutic abortion was too much for me. I didn't want to face that possibility. So no more babies fro me.
As a counselor I have had several occasions to listen while people sorted out their thoughts and feelings about this issue. One couple hits very close to the situation of your coworker. They were recently married but not young She was in her early 40s. They never planned to have children but were thrilled to find out it happened. Then they had the tests done and were told pretty much the same as your friend although the doctors said the baby probably would not live for more than a day or two. They asked me the same question. Is it a sin? Will God forgive us? What should we do?
I didn't tell them what I thought. I encouraged them to talk about their feelings, their fears, their abilities to cope with this. All the pros and cons. They decided to terminate the pregnancy. With a great deal of sadness and love they were together. They held this tiny child in the palm of their hands and prayed and spoke to her. They made a memory box for her. She never drew one breath but she was loved. And they let her go. They did not regret the decision. Ultimately only the parents can decide if they can live with the result of their choices. It is heart-breaking. But I think they made a decision that was right for them.
Regardless of the choices parents make in situations like this there are consequences. Always.
A1914, you said, "...were it not for my dear mother, I would not be here typing away on these keys." There's a mouth full.
My wife came close to losing our son. Mind you, he didn't have anything that you described. It's a tough personal matter isn't it?