“She is worth every second of our sorrow and grief. She is worth every tear. Worth every contraction and minute of labor. Worth every lonely night and broken-hearted night that I don't get to hold her in my arms. In fact, her worth is why we grieve. I love Ted with every ounce of my being and my love for Lily is the same. My heart aches all day long when I think that I don't get to keep her. When I think about Ted growing up without his sister, I have such a heavy heart.”
These are the heartfelt words my friend Kellie shared on her blog this past September as she awaits the birth of her daughter, Lily, who will be born any day now. What should be a happy time has turned into a time of sadness, after she and her husband found out about their daughter’s condition.
“Instead of tears of joy, it was sobs of sorrow. God had finally given me a baby girl that my heart has always longed for, but I don't get to keep her.”
Kellie continues to explain her daughter’s condition: “For those of you that do not know, Anencephaly is a neural tubal defect where the baby is missing part of its brain and skull. Our baby will not survive outside of the womb. She is very much alive inside of me, but once she is born she will most likely only live a few hours.”
Many doctors advise abortion in cases of anencephaly, since the child will not survive long after birth. But Kellie’s response to news of her daughter’s condition was not to give her an early death sentence born of fear and misguidance, but to give her life, even if that life may be short, and even if the loss may be emotionally painful.
I could easily say that my friend and her husband’s decision to keep their baby and go full term is an act of heroism, but I’m not sure they would accept that. In our culture and in this time in history this decision may be deemed as heroic, but I think Kellie would say that what she is doing wasn’t a decision at all. A decision requires options, all of which can be considered.
Kellie is pregnant and her daughter Lily is alive and growing inside of her. “Lily dances in my belly all day long… every doctor's appointment she's jumping and kicking and has the strongest heartbeat,” she writes. This is why there is no decision to be made, no choice to choose: because this child, even with her Anencephaly, is fully human and fully valuable.
In her mother Kellie’s words, “In fact, her worth is why we grieve.”
Follow Melanie on Facebook
Kellie and her husband Jason grieve because they will lose their child too soon, a child who is perfectly human, a child deserving of life: a child, not a decision or a choice.
Lily’s parents may challenge me if I call them heroes for doing something we are all called to do, to treat humans with equal dignity and respect. But I hope they accept that their courage in sharing their love for their daughter in a world that lacks understanding of what it takes to sacrifice oneself for another is indeed heroic.
Many children with anencephaly are aborted mainly for emotional reasons, like the pain their parents will feel in losing their child after birth. What begins as a wanted pregnancy often results in an unwanted child, or rather unwanted pain and suffering.
Planned Parenthood’s slogan is, “Every child a wanted child,” which makes its abortion and child killing practices sound not so bad. In fact, if you didn’t read into their words more fully, they might sound compassionate. But their words are a lie.
The motto of truth I hope every human being adopts is, “Every child is a valued child, no matter if they are ‘wanted’ or not.”
When Kellie first revealed the doctor’s prognosis for their unborn child on her blog, she gave that blog post the title, “Love may cost us dearly.” When many in our culture want the immediate disappearance of their difficult situations, this couple embraced love, a love that will require great suffering on their part.
I pray that every parent who hears a diagnosis of anencephaly for their unborn child will recognize their child’s humanity and may even be so courageous as to share the response of Kellie, who writes about her own unborn daughter: “She is our miracle no matter how long we get with her…whether 5 minutes, 5 hours or 50 years. She is a miracle, created in God's own image and likeness. She is a miracle. She is my miracle.”
You may view more of Kellie’s story and blogs here.
Follow Melanie on Facebook