I missed a few days of the Capture Your Grief project while visiting family in Colorado. After I returned, I’ve had a really hard time focusing because another topic has been weighing heavily on me.
This post will upset some people and I’m sorry. I’ve been writing and rewriting this for days. I showed it to Joe and he basically told me I shouldn’t post it. But I can’t take it anymore. Staying silent isn’t going to work for me.
And let me just tell you now: this IS NOT A DEBATE. I do not want my post turned into an abortion debate. If that happens, it will be clear to me that you have missed the entire point of what I am about to say. What has become abundantly clear to me over the past few days is that empathy—what it means and how it works is lost on social media, and I fear in general.
After the most recent presidential debate, social media has not been a safe place for me. The words “incompatible with life” show up constantly. And every single time I hear them, I am pushed back into the darkness. The day we heard those words. It is excruciatingly painful. It knocks the air from my lungs just like it did the first time I saw the ultrasound tech’s face when she knew something wasn’t right. All we wanted that day was to see our little one squirming around on an ultrasound. Not even in our worst dreams did we expect our lives to be forever shattered by those three words. And I want to scream. Zoey lived. Not long enough. Not nearly long enough, but she lived. And we loved her long before she was born.
And then there’s the posts with very graphic and disturbing photos & videos of late term abortions. And I’ve seen parents who chose that option called murderers. I can’t even begin to tell you how angry this makes me. If you want me to believe that all human lives are important to you, try not calling a family who has made the most unimaginable decision for their family a murderer. Unless you were in that room with their doctor you have no business judging them. I’ve met moms that were in this position. I know the horror. I’ve seen them talk about it—I’ve seen the heartbreak in their eyes, their voices trembling as they speak. And I guarantee you that the majority of them are shell shocked, traumatized and suffer a kind of guilt you can’t possibly fathom. I know this because I was in that room when I heard my daughter’s diagnosis was “incompatible with life”. And I know that you cannot possibly process what is happening. And yes, I made the decision to carry my daughter. Aborting her was not an option I considered. But that was also never recommended to us. And we were told that Trisomy 18 was not painful for her. Had circumstances been different, I honestly don’t know what kind of discussions would have happened between me, my husband and our doctor. You realize there is a group of people out there that think we didn’t do enough for Zoey because we chose hospice for her? Because we did not do surgery after surgery? And do you have any idea of the kind of pain that causes me? The guilt. The fear that maybe they are right? It rips me apart.
Seeing all of this played out over social media is eating at me. These are real people. Real babies. With real issues that you cannot even begin to comprehend. Because you don’t want to go there. Trust me. It’s easy for these bloggers to sit behind a computer and judge these parents because they are so sure they would not even consider that option. And they may believe that 100%. But I’ll tell you from behind THIS computer is a woman that has been there. And she’s telling you that you really don’t know. The anger, the hatred does nothing but cause more pain. It is not changing anyone’s mind about anything.
I will tell my daughter’s story whenever I can. It is a love story. But not because I want to pile on the guilt to anyone. Carrying Zoey was beautiful, amazing, and wondrous. I do not regret it for one moment. And yet I still carry guilt. I still wonder if I made the right decisions for her. I still fear other people are judging me.
The point is, you do not have to agree with another person’s views, choices or beliefs to show empathy. And I want families that sit in those rooms, horrified at the diagnosis they have been given to know that there are people out there who love them.
I hope to always show compassion. Love. Empathy.