By SPUC—the Society for the protection of unborn children
A mother who refused pressure from doctors to abort her son, Hendré, has lauded the “greatest gift we could have received… I wish they could hear me when I tell them it’s okay to have a child who’s different from society’s idea of ‘normal.’”
Mariaan Strauss, 25, from South Africa, and her husband Hendrik, 26, were pressured by a doctor to abort their unborn son after a scan at 23 weeks revealed that he wasn’t developing arms.
Following the scan, a doctor told them, “You’re selfish if you don’t abort. You must think of the child. He will never be able to have a normal quality of life.”
Mariaan and her husband were at first worried and scared about the potential challenges that awaited them if they didn’t abort Hendré.
“There was self-blame and pain. And the fear of the unknown and an uncertain future”, explains Mariaan. “Society is cruel, and I thought will our child ever be accepted? Is he going to be mocked and bullied?”
But Mariaan insisted that Hendré be allowed to be born. He is now eleven months old, and his parents now see him as “the greatest gift we could have received”.
Hendré can roll on his own and uses his legs to push himself forward. Hendrik, his father, said: “When he wakes up, he lies there and smiles at us… And to think I wanted to throw it away because I was scared and insecure.”
A SPUC spokesperson said:
“Hendré’s story and his parents’ delight remind us that quality of life is not to be measured by limitation but by the limitless possibilities of love harbored in every human heart.
“The smile a baby gives to a parent is worth every challenge, every sleepless night – it is that joyful recognition that they are happy to be alive and protected. Not only is this worth fighting for, but it is also life itself.”