“The mother should not believe that the baby is her enemy.”
These are words uttered from Dr. Ben Carson during an interview on Meet the Press.
Sophia was never my enemy, nor was I hers. Every decision we painstakingly made during those two weeks between our discovery of her condition and her eventual birth was decided with the utmost love and respect for her as our child, the ultimate extension of ourselves. It does not matter when one believes life begins. It does not matter if life starts at the time of conception, the first beat of the miniature heart, the point of viability, or birth. What matters is that our actions would have been the same for Sophia at any point. We loved her, whether or not she could have lived. The first major decision we faced for her was a devastating one. We were fortunate to have nature takes its course before we had to choose termination; I refuse to feel guilt or shame for having been in the position of choosing between a difficult pregnancy which would end tragically and providing the most humane outcome for both Sophia and me.
The direction my health would have taken will always remain an unknown, as our path with Sophia veered sharply at the fork in our abbreviated, yet bumpy, pregnancy road. As I think of Sophia daily, gratitude surrounds each memory I have of that time. The doctor warned us that carrying on with the pregnancy could cause health issues to me. A rarity that is being aware of blissful unawareness, we will never know what my fate would have been.
Dr. Carson’s response to being open to abortions in the case of the life and health of the mother shows just how little compassion he would have had for me five years ago: “That’s an extraordinarily rare situation,” Carson said. “But if that very rare situation occurred, I believe there’s room to discuss that.” Discussing and doing are very different. Discussing seems to be his way of saying “no” by not saying “yes” just as a parent may respond “maybe, dear, we’ll see” when a child begs for a new toy. Sophia was not our toy; Dr. Carson is not my parent. His indifferent, flippant attitude toward those of us who live this nightmare is appalling.
I can only speak for myself. I will only speak for myself. By sharing my story, my history, and my journey, the ultimate goal has always been to connect all of us who are challenged by such a heavy fate. No minds need to be changed, no person needs to feel guilty, no parents need to feel defeated by others. What Dr. Carson would do if he and family were faced with the impossible situation we took head-on is unknown.
My hope, despite the decision he would make in light of such tragedy, is that the community would extend a hand, a kind word, and a shoulder to lean on, leaving behind the judgmental ugliness that has become so commonplace.
My hope, to those who listen to the rhetoric that demonizes others and their personal decisions, is that they can believe in humanity and compassion beyond their own agenda of influencing others.
In sharing my story, writing my blog, and connecting with countless suffering people, I have experienced how being humane toward others is key to healing and ultimately survival. Hostility has no place. Dr. Carson’s words have no place.
As he feigns his own twisted form of compassion, I am left underwhelmed: “I’m a reasonable person and if people can come up with a reasonable explanation of why they would like to kill a baby, I’ll listen.”
Perhaps he really does have some listening to do.