Friday, May 20, 2005

Do we have too much freedom on our hands?

I recently read a post that got me wondering... Well actually it was more than one post, all were different in context with different worries and woes from pregnant women, but they all had something in common: Personal choices and "freedom".

I put the word freedom in quotation marks because I simply, personally, not judging anyone, do not believe in this kind of freedom.
Having battled (and seems, temporarily won over) infertility, my outlook on many things, changed. First of all I do not take this getting pregnant - 9 months later you have a pink healthy baby stuff, for granted any more... and I will certainly never say again how I would pick my getting pregnant month just to avoid having a Gemini baby!!
After 2 years of Infertility Hell, if someone told me I needed to stand on my head for 20 hours a day in order to have a healthy baby, I would. From the moment these two little ones embedded themselves inside of me, nothing, nothing is more important to me than their well-being.
I would tear through stone walls with my bare hands to get to them and ease their discomfort if they cried and I would most certainly slap (at the very least) anyone who dared hurt them (teacher, other kids etc). In other words, I feel like a mother!

Now, that does not mean that because I went through some rough times in order to get pregnant, I am more deserving or more entitled or that I will simply love my little ones more than the woman who got pregnant in her first try... BUT, I might appreciate a few things a little more, just because I worked a little harder in achieving them. If you think about it, that pertains to everything in life... the left over meat loaf you threw out yesterday without a second thought, would mean the world to someone else, somewhere else in the world. You know what I mean?

So when I hear things like: "I won't vaccinate my children" or "I won't have this prenatal test because its such a bother to me" and doctors just nod and tighten their lips because its your choice and this is a free country, honestly I get infuriated.
You see, I believe that from the moment you decide to have children, its not about you anymore. You are becoming responsible, re spo nsi ble, for someone else. You become their voice, their advocate, the voice of wisdom... they expect you to protect them!

I get really, really pissed when someone subjects me to secondary smoking. I get all rowdy thinking why should your unhealthy habit, impact me??? How dare you!? and I want to slap them all the way to Virginia!!
Well, don't you think your baby might think the same thing??? She is totally dependent on you. How dare you endanger her future? Who the heck do you think you are. She might think and with good reason...
We keep fighting science and progress so much... but we keep forgetting that just a generation ago, women lost their babies all the time when really, they shouldn't have to.

We forget that infant mortality rate has dropped not because we somehow evolved but because of the advances of medicine. We take good health and good outcomes so for granted and we are caught unprepared and wonder why with wide eyed child amazement when something bad happens and it makes me so mad sometimes.
Like my friend who told me "I haven't had any testing, haven't read anything about pregnancy or delivery. I have a doctor who I pay to know everything for me"... her baby died shortly after delivery from a totally preventable problem if only she had gotten tested.
When she got pregnant with her second baby, she virtually sat through every test available to man!

Or like my other friend who lied about her gestation age to avoid testing because she had been infected early in pregnancy with a very serious virus that can give her anything from a miscarriage to a developmentally retarded and malformed baby.
She was so afraid they were going to take her baby that she managed to avoid every single test that would affirm or discard any problems with the baby. I pray to God she has the healthiest baby in the history of man!!

Of course all these are my personal opinions. I am not better or worse than my friends. They both did what they thought was best for their situation and their babies... and of course having all the tests in the world does not mean you will have a better outcome. In the end what is to be will be... with a few exceptions: Things like Gestational Diabetes testing is a pain in the butt, but its totally treatable and might save your baby's life! Its the #2 reason for infant mortality! Did you know that?
Knowing if your baby has a diaphragmatic hernia can also save her life and its only an ultrasound away...

In the end what this is all about, is having a healthy baby. If you have your dream birth or your dream pregnancy is irrelevant and you will feel the same if God Forbid, I never wish it on you ever find yourself in my friend's unfortunate position.
Don't take anything for granted... do the best you can. Medical science is not the boogie man. They don't want to torture you, they don't want to turn you into a lab animal... they want to help you get your ultimate dream. A healthy baby to bring home and love!! Does it really matter what you will go through to get that? One smile from your little one and you will surely answer "no, I would go through Hell, over and over again just to see that smile".

If we are to exercise our freedom of choice, lets not do it on the expense of someone else... before we chose not to subject ourselves in some temporaty tortute like a GD test, please, let us think for a moment whose future is really at risk here... Pregnancy is less about us and more about bringing that baby, healthy and well, home... isn't it?

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