Sometimes in life, you're presented with an issue so terrible that the available choices seem equally dreadful. Having your baby diagnosed with serious abnormalities while you are pregnant is one of those cases. Depending on many things, including the nature of your baby's condition, the stance of your hospital/doctor, and local/national laws, you may be given the shocking option of ending the pregnancy prematurely. Shocking because you and your partner want this baby. Shocking because until now may have been thinking about due dates, your maternity leave, names and/or grappling with morning sickness and your expanding waistline. Shocking because this scenario simply never entered your head. The reality that this option applies to you and your baby - and that the doctor isn't talking to someone sitting behind you - is devastating.
My husband and I have found ourselves in this position not just once, but twice**. In both cases we ultimately chose not to go ahead with those pregnancies. How we struggled with our thought processes is what I have documented in this blog. It was a situation that we simply could not have imagined when we got married. We expected and hoped for a drastic change when we started trying for a family. We just didn't get the one we bargained for.
There are very few TFMR (termination for medical reasons) blogs out there, so that's why I decided to write our story. It serves a few purposes:
1) Therapy for me as I try to comprehend what a disaster the past four years have been. The emotional journey someone goes on when they choose not to continue with a wanted pregnancy of a much-loved baby is one that seems entirely unchartered. Much less when it happens twice. The terrible emotions that have hit me in these last four years I have not experienced ever in my life before, and I could not have imagined what they would have felt like. By the same token, I have no idea what is in store for me in the future. It could get better, but there are so many things ahead that could make it even worse.
2) It's not a pro-TFMR/anti carrying to term blog in any way shape or form. If you are faced with this situation, you have my genuine respect and admiration whatever your decision. I certainly do not advocate my and my husband's (joint) decision as right for anyone else. If you read my entries and appreciate the impact our journey has had on every aspect on my life: my mental health, my relations with family, financially, you'll know that the path we have chosen is a very hard one. In fact, I haven't been totally honest about many of my thoughts, even though this blog is anonymous, simply because too many are men-in-white-coats-unprintable and they need to remain that way.
3) For medical professionals, close friends and family to recognise that just because you have chosen to bring your pregnancy to a premature end doesn't mean you aren't grieving your baby just as much as anyone else whose baby has died. I don't think the impact of death of babies in utero is really taken seriously, whatever the nature of that death. I try to rationalise this, and I guess much of this is down to the fact that the baby is literally hidden from view, and in everybody else's eyes, doesn't exist until it is born alive.
4) To highlight standards of medical care. If women use my account as a benchmark and can say 'my experience was worse/better' or 'the way they are treating me right now is not right, I know it can be better,' then collectively we might be able to work to an improved outcome. To the ladies in the US who have to fly/travel long distances to other states or have to cross picket lines of protestors in order to get the medical attention you need, I am so sorry. I hope the situation changes for you one day soon.