I'm sure this "friend" was able to have beautiful natural births in her own home and perfect healthy little pink babies. Probably she was up making dinner the next day. And of course she must have effortlessly nursed all her babies. Maybe she even sewed their clothes. It is easy to be smug when you are lucky. And luck is really what it is. The chance of having a child with birth defects (hate that term) is quite high and occurs randomly across all ages, races, classes and people with all levels of education. It's a fact.
The truth is that modern medicine has caused many women to believe that birthing children is safe, but it wasn't always that way. My own mother's mother died as a complication of a home birth because the town doctor was "away on holiday". My dear friend Karin died after child birth last year and she was in a hospital. Not only was giving birth dangerous for mothers, in the days before modern medicine, many children were still born or died shortly after birth. Some still do. Another fact.
I myself was an unplanned teenage pregnancy between two people who were not ready to be parents and in a different decade I probably would have resulted in an abortion instead of being adopted. In addition I was born 2 months premature weighing only 3lb 3oz. If I had been born a decade earlier, I might not have lived. I never had health complications but many premature babies do. With changes in technology these days more and more micro preemies can be and are saved at a time when ironically they could legally be late term aborted. I have a lot of personal feelings about the value of all human life.
There are a lot of people who believe in survival of the fittest. This theory might make sense when you think of it purely in an advancement of the species way but the problem is in the execution of the theory in real life with real people. I know from comments like the one made by the family "friend" that some people think somehow we should have "let Ainsley die". When people are sheltered in anonymity like they are when they post comments on the Internet or YouTube you learn that there are actually far more people who believe kids with birth defects should die than you would ever believe. I've had the most heartless comments left on videos that were posted there as a means to share Ainsley's achievements(which I immediately delete). I do believe some of these people might go so far as to commit murder and justify it in a Hitleresque kind of way.
I think sometimes people think that the doctors come in after the birth and ask "Would you like us to
An interesting fact is that the tracheotomy is the oldest known surgery performed. Even though many people know little about them they have been performed successfully on children (and adults) for hundreds of years. Although a parent might be able to legally consent to withholding the surgery to do so could in many people's eyes, constitute murder. In Ainsley's case that was all that was needed to save her life. Further surgeries enhanced her life.
People in general are not against life saving surgeries or tracheostomies. If they were in a car accident and the choice was a trach and reconstructive surgery or death most people would not only want medical intervention they would expect it. Nobody would question whether the medical costs and care were "worth it". At the root of the difference between this scenario and saving the life of a child born with birth defects is the truth that some people don't believe these children are "worth saving" because they believe these children are "less" because they are "born this way". And this is when we get into very complicated issues of Bioethics and often, I believe, discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. Many people think it is different if the child is intellectually "normal". Equal rights for the intellectually disabled is the last frontier of civil rights.
Advancements in medicine in recent years cause many children who would have previously died to live or live longer. Having one of these children in my own family I must admit the truth which is that it can place an enormous burden on the family when these children are brought home. But in addition these children bring amazing gifts to the family and world. Like all adversity we would not choose it, but it can make our lives richer and more meaningful. More importantly these "defective" children are people. Their own lives matter as much to them as yours does to you. Many of them have endured more suffering than you can imagine and yet their spirits are strong and shine regardless. If you are lucky enough to know one of these special children then you know what I mean.
And on that note I'd like you to watch this video (especially if you are secretly one of those people who believe these children should not be saved.). Pay attention to the lyrics of the song. Remember you can click on the arrows to make it full screen.
And on that happy note perhaps you might like to read my Happiness Week 36 post. It's a little bit lighter.