By Dave Andrusko
One of the best exercises to help us think through situations is the familiar compare and contrast. I would like to compare the following situation—a pregnant woman writing an “open letter” to the baby she is about to abort—and contrast it with the way Jenna and Dan Haley responded when they were told the baby they were expecting would likely live only a few hours after birth. (See “Couple celebrates brief life of baby born with anencephaly, gave him a lifetime of memories –his “bucket list”–before he was born.”)
Kudos to Billy Hallowell for alerting his readers to a letter that appeared on Reddit: “I am getting an abortion next Friday. An Open Letter to the Little Life I Won’t Get to Meet.”
This “little thing” won’t enjoy any time, however brief, outside his or her mother’s womb, let alone in the loving arms of the child’s mother. Unfortunately for the baby, the mother (who signed in as scaredthrowingaway) doesn’t “feel the enchantment that I’m supposed to feel.” She’s sorry about this “goodbye” and “sad that I’ll never get to meet you.”
“But, Little Thing, we will meet again. I promise that the next time I see that little blue plus, the next time you are in the same reality as me, I will be ready for you.”
Scaredthrowingaway writes elliptically but we are to understand that she believes she is doing her baby a favor. She is “still haunted by ghosts of the life I’ve lived,” and although “I want you to be better than I ever was and more magnificent than I ever could be,” not now.
No:“I can’t do to you what was done to me: Plant a seed made of love and spontaneity into a garden, and hope that it will grow on only dreams.”
She ends with, “I promise I will see you again, and next time, you can call me Mom.”
What to say? Maybe to her, it’s like reaching for the brass ring while on the merry-go-round. This go round with this baby, Scaredthrowingaway missed the prize. Next time round for sure she’ll win. But not now, not when “I am still growing myself.”
Only babies are not like brass rings to be grasped for. Each one is a prize in and of themselves, more precious than gold that is already there. When a child is aborted, they do not “come around” again at a time more pleasing to the mother.
They are not perennials that come back every year. They are dead.
A comment made on the site perfectly illustrates what happens when flesh and blood babies are turned into horticultural and pastoral metaphors.
“On the one hand, the pregnancy is a thing, an it, an other, a never gonna happen. But on the other hand, it is a possibility. A road diverged in a wood. One path leads to a person joining you, and on the other road you keep going alone. You stand at the crossroads and you decide, then and there.”
“A thing,” “an it,” “an other,” and a “never gonna happen.” You choose one path and the kid (sorry, the “possibility”) makes it home. You choose another path and “you keep going alone”—the “thing/it/other” is torn to pieces.
The commenter concludes with “thanks to the talented writers who speak so eloquently about the experience.”
I conclude with sorrow that now that some respondents side with her, Scaredthrowingaway confesses she feels ‘braver.’
Only there is nothing brave about taking the life of an innocent human being. Brave is when circumstances are the most difficult, you take the road less traveled.
Which leads us to Jenna and Dan Haley…. “Couple celebrates brief life of baby born with anencephaly, gave him a lifetime of memories –his “bucket list”–before he was born.”