Sunday, 20 June 2010

Beauty shines out in the midst of the culture of death

An article in World Magazine tells five moving stories of mothers informed by doctors that their unborn child's condition was 'incompatible with life'.

Cody Holt, the author, says that every day, parents hear dire news about their unborn baby which is couched in clinical terms like "incompatible with life," "no quality of life," and "termination of pregnancy." Many mothers choose to abort but some don't, despite the uncertainty of not knowing whether their children will lead fairly normal lives, live with serious conditions, or die soon after birth.

Kim Illion, for example, despite doctors' advice, refused to abort her son Cole after he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Kim says it took her four months to grasp that her unborn son had been diagnosed with hydrocephalus—water on the brain—at 20 weeks. "I cried every single day," said the mother from Iselin, N.J, USA.

Kim and her husband ignored the advice of every doctor they saw who pressured them to abort. Doctors said their son would be a vegetable, disfigured, never talk or walk, on a respirator. Doctors even called the Illions selfish for refusing to abort or, as they put it, "explore other options."

The Illions were given hope when a neurosurgeon told them that there was no reason why Cole wouldn't lead a normal life. In the end, Kim Illion says, "He was born, and he was perfect." Cole went through brain surgery at 1 day old and has had 12 surgeries since.

Today, Cole (pictured with mum) is a healthy and happy 5-year-old. "Even when he's in the hospital getting surgery he smiles when he wakes up. You look at him smile and everything is ok," Illion said. Although he lags behind in areas like speech and potty training, he is otherwise a normal child. The Illions later started an organization, Hydrocephalus Kids, to raise awareness of the condition.

Do take time to read the rest of the article which provides a beautiful witness in the midst of the culture of death in which we are living.  And thank God that Cole's mum's idea of "perfection" differs from the idea of some of the doctors putting her under such cruel pressure. 

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