A few weeks ago, during a gathering celebrating Father's Day and JD's birthday, I had something confirmed that I would have rather not known. Epsy, our beloved niece, very nearly wasn't born. We have long suspected that her parents, F and P, were considering an abortion, since they had chorionic villus sampling done during their pregnancy. They were living in England at the time, and it seemed to us that the most likely reason for the testing was a suspicion of abnormalities that they wanted confirmed in time to decide whether or not to continue the pregnancy. In the midst of a wide ranging argument, they confirmed that they were prepared to abort their daughter if the odds weren't good that she wouldn't "suffer too much."
The genetic abnormality that was suspected has a prognosis of not living more than a year or so. F and P were quite certain it wouldn't have been worth it. I can't help but think, as I said, what Husbandido and I would have given to have had a year with only begotten child - even an hour or a few minutes, just to hold that precious baby. You can fit a lifetime of love into a short time. But we don't even have an ultrasound picture, just the knowledge that for a very short time our child existed. One of my best friends once told me about another friend of hers, whose child was not expected to live long past birth. During her third trimester she battled wanting to be done being so large, having to pee all the time, not ever being comfortable, all the difficulties of being very pregnant, knowing that her child would have so little time after birth. It's hard not to compare the two viewpoints.
Even now I have so many mixed emotions surrounding this revelation. Sorrow for Epsy, that some day she will know her parents were prepared to kill her if she didn't meet their standards. As much as her parents love her and dote on her now, at some point she will probably find out about her parents' stance. How will that affect her? How will that affect their relationship? P says he doesn't know what love is or believe in it. Will Epsy some day wonder if parents' love is conditional, if they will only love her if she is "good enough?" Sorrow for F and P, that as atheists, the highest good they can see is maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. (In this same conversation P said he considered the pleasure he gets from flying drones to be equal to Blessed Mother Theresa's helping the poor.) Fear - what will these family members have to say about or to children that are less than perfect, as our adopted children almost certainly will be? Anger - how is it that they were granted this wonderful, loving little girl while we will never look at a child and see bits of ourselves, as they so often see bits of themselves reflected in their daughter?
Honestly, I have mostly tried not to think about it. When I do, I can't help but mourn that this precious little girl nearly wasn't. The world would be missing much without her. All I can do is pray - pray for her, for her parents, for all those who can't see any good to suffering, for those tempted to or encouraged to have an abortion because of a prenatal diagnosis. Lord, have mercy.