(trigger warning for depression, substance abuse, suicide, and for just being really fucking sad)
I was inspired to post this because of the submission about the girl who aborted her child with Tay-Sachs. I wish I could have been so lucky.
My husband Alan and I found out that I was pregnant in late April of 2009. This was a complete accident. Due to the fact that we were both Tay-Sachs carriers, we were going to have a child via IVF. But what was done was done. I scheduled an appointment for a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) for as early as possible (10 weeks). Words cannot describe how relieved we were when the doctor told us that our child was fine.
My pregnancy was an easy one. No complications, plenty of happiness. My husband, my in-laws, my daughter Sophia (from a previous relationship), and the rest of my friends and family were overjoyed. My parents had passed away years before that, but I know they would have been happy too.
I gave birth to my son Elijah on January 15th, 2010. Everything was perfect until Elijah was six months old. He wasn’t reaching the developmental milestones he should have been. My husband became concerned. His brother died at the age of four from Tay-Sachs. Alan remembered watching the disease progress. He said that this watching Elijah was like “deja vu”. I didn’t think much of it, but I figured it was better to err on the side of caution. I made an appointment with an opthamologist to look at Elijah’s eyes, which is a way of diagnosing Tay-Sachs.
My world came crashing down around me when the opthamologist told me that Elijah had “cherry-red spots” in the back of his eyes. That meant that the doctor was wrong. My son did have Tay-Sachs. Furious, I went back to the first doctor and told him what I had found out. I know he was pro-life, and I’m pretty sure he lied to me so I didn’t have an abortion. It’s also possible that he made a mistake. All I know is that he no longer can practice medicine and I recieved a lot of monetary compensation. However, it’s not worth it.
Alan had a lot of issues in his past. After the death of his brother, he started using drugs. He got into methamphetamines by the time he was 15. He got clean when he was 21. Upon hearing of Elijah’s illness, he began using again at the age of 30. I tried to get him help. I wanted to send him to rehab, but he wouldn’t listen to me. He purposely overdosed about a month after Elijah’s diagnosis. His suicide note read “Watching my baby brother die was too much. I can’t watch my son. I’m sorry.” My husband, the love of my life, is dead.
His in-laws are incredibly distraught. They had to bury both of their children, and now they’re going to have to help me bury their first and last biological grandchild. Their depression caused them to lose their jobs, which lead to them losing their house. They live in my house now, but I hardly see them. They only leave their room to eat.
My seven-year-old daughter is so confused. She knows what’s happening, but she wants to know why. I wish I could tell her, but I don’t even know myself. Every night, she holds Elijah in her arms and weeps. She begs him not to leave and tells him how much she loves him. She showers him with kisses and won’t let him go until I put her to bed. She was too depressed to be in school, so I have teachers coming to our house so she can be homeschooled. She’s in therapy three times per week. I’m doing everything I can for her, but it doesn’t seem like enough.
Elijah needs constant care, so I had to give up my job. At first I had a nurse taking care of him, but as his disease progressed, I kept having to leave work for emergency visits either at home or at the hospital. I have more than enough money to stay afloat, but what good is that when I’m home pretty much 24/7 watching my son slowly die.
This is the only time in my life that I’m glad my parents aren’t around. I don’t want them to see this. It’s too painful.
Elijah has is the worst of all. He’s blind, deaf, and paralyzed. He cannot eat, so he needs to be tube-fed. He has seizures every day and is severely brain damaged. He cannot laugh or smile. My baby boy has no quality of life. If I was made aware of his illness, I would have had an abortion. At only 12 weeks, he wouldn’t have felt a thing. Now pain is all he knows and feels. I expect him to pass away within the next few months.
So, pro-lifers, tell me, what good came out of Elijah being born? A few months of happiness? Guess what, it wasn’t worth it, especially not for Elijah. How can you justify me being forced to put him through this? The love of my life is dead, my in-laws will never see their family carried on, my daughter is being robbed of a happy childhood, my mental health is deteriorating every passing minute, and my son is in agony. All of this could have been prevented by an abortion, but my “doctor” manipulated me so I wouldn’t have one.
Don’t tell me that Elijah’s birth is a blessing or that this experience will make me stronger. Don’t tell me that fetuses can feel pain. Not at 12 weeks they can’t, and every credible medical professional agrees. And please, for the love of God, do NOT tell me how much you “care”. Usually, you only care about the fetus. Not the mother, not the family, just the fetus. But in my case, you don’t care about any of us, especially my son. You just want me to live MY life based on YOUR “moral” standards.
Many people would say “I hope you get pregnant with a terminally ill child!”, but I’m not going to say that. I hope you never fall pregnant with a child like mine, because you’d opt to put them through years of pain and misery, and only pain and misery.