by Anonymous

January 4, 2023

I was thirty-four weeks pregnant when an extra ultrasound (there had been concerns about the placenta’s position) revealed that our son’s head was a little smaller than expected. I didn’t panic at first as I didn’t really understand, but dutifully made an appointment to see specialists. I was actually reassured when told the soonest available appointment was a couple of weeks later. I thought it meant there couldn’t be anything that wrong. But there was. At the first specialist consultation they told us they thought something was wrong with his brain – agenesis of the corpus callosum and made rushed appointments for foetal MRIs the next day.  Of course I went home and googled. I was horrified to think he might be disabled and then felt guilty because my beloved brother is intellectually and physically disabled and he’s amazing – happy and genuinely good. But I was scared. I spoke to family and was comforted. But the MRI revealed his brain stem was twisted and that various parts of his brain were unformed. And so the doctors told us we had a decision to make. If we continued with the pregnancy they would need life support on hand for the baby from the moment of his birth – he wouldn’t be able to breathe or swallow independently. He wouldn’t be able to control his limbs or focus his eyes – ever.

Just days before I’d been terrified of a small neurological disability, but at this point I knew that I would give anything to be his lifelong caregiver – if he could just know he was loved even if physically incapable – I could handle that. Similarly, if he was to be oblivious to everything, but able to enjoy his own senses, I would have sacrificed everything else in my life for him to have that. But the doctors warned us that the latter was impossible and the former incredibly improbable.

The decision was made when the paediatric neurologist spoke about how much pain he was likely to be in from the moment of his birth until his death. I wanted to hold him in my arms more than anything- I still feel the emptiness there, but I couldn’t risk him being in pain.

We went on a short family holiday. We read stories to him. We prayed for him. And at 37 weeks the pregnancy was terminated. Two days later I was induced and he was born sleeping. He was beautiful.

I don’t even think of this termination as an abortion, but as euthanasia. We chose what was best for our child. I share this story because I know that the right to make the choice we did has been taken from many.

Today is his birthday.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!