Am I a Fraud?
This post is best read while listening to "No one said it would be easy" by Cloud Cult.
When I started sharing Luca’s story, I didn’t think twice about explaining exactly what had happened to him: he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and a lethal genetic disorder, and we took the agonising decision to end the pregnancy at 26 weeks.
Unlike most women within the baby loss community, my baby didn’t die “spontaneously” in my womb - it wasn’t a miscarriage like with Jelly Bean. It wasn’t a stillbirth, strictly speaking. It wasn’t a placental or a cervix problem. We voluntarily chose to end his life, and as horrible and impossible as it sounds, that’s exactly what happened.
So, am I a fraud, in the baby loss community, because my baby didn’t die (even though I was informed there was a high chance he would, in the last few weeks of my pregnancy) but I put an end to what would have been a very short, extremely painful life before he was even with us earthside? Am I hurting any less? Is my grief less valid?
No. If anything, those who terminate for medical reasons are carrying an extra layer of grief, loss, pain, and guilt. And this is so incredibly complex to face and to deal with, every single day, even if you see us here, still living, still breathing, still going about our daily routines. Still smiling.
We loved our babies and we didn’t want them to suffer. Sometimes we honestly had no choice but to say goodbye. Ours was NOT a selfish act - some of us, who terminated late like myself, had to go through what I believe is one of the most traumatising experiences of a woman’s life: having a needle inserted into their womb to stop the heart of their precious baby. Others had to undergo major surgeries and faced risks and complications. Others had to travel abroad, spend lots of money, communicate to strangers in a different language, because their own country doesn’t allow them to have this type of procedure.
Does anyone think this is selfish? Does anyone think a termination for medical reasons is a “lesser loss”, a fraud? I hope not. Because our hearts and bodies are hurting just as much as all the other loss mamas.