They Said Our Unborn Son Could Be a ‘Management Problem’

Susan Holt Simpson on Unsplash

Seven years ago, my wife was five months pregnant. We were headed for an ultrasound to see the baby and have the doctors make sure everything was progressing nicely. We’d done ultrasounds three times with other children and were feeling excited. All of our children were born healthy, and we figured the ultrasound wouldn’t take long.

As we met with the doctor and ultrasound technician, they referred to what they saw as “your child.” They must have said it 50 times, saying things like “your child’s hand,” “your child’s heart.”

Then something changed.

Another doctor was brought into the room and for five minutes he stared at the baby’s heart. The room was completely silent. I could tell my wife was becoming upset, but I was oblivious and thought she was overreacting. Was I ever wrong. The doctor began to tell us there was a tumor on our child’s heart and started to run down all the scenarios we now faced.

Then the doctor said: “If the fetus is abnormal and that is a management problem for you, you have options.”

No Longer a Child?

The slight change in wording tells the story. I was in too much shock to respond, but later it dawned on me what he’d done. The baby my wife was carrying was only a child if we wanted to keep it. There were more than 4,000 abortions in the United States the day we were given the option to add one more. We had the right to determine whether this child would be allowed to live. If we didn’t want the baby, it was only a fetus.

The baby my wife was carrying was only a child if we wanted to keep it.

Deep down, there’s a selfish side in all of us. We tell ourselves we would never do _________ in any situation. Then you find yourself in that situation, and your mind wanders. You think selfish thoughts. Kids limit us, after all. A child with special needs would’ve drastically changed our lives. WebMD didn’t give us much hope that our child was healthy.

In that moment I understood, in a new way, that parenting is a joyful surrender of your time. I’ve met many wonderful families who have children with special needs, but I wondered if I would be up for the task. Would I, despite my theology, be willing to kill my child? Would I reason that it wouldn’t be a good life for my child, or that my other children would be so negatively affected that the decision was really about “management”?

Lessons Learned

Three weeks later we returned for another ultrasound. The growth on the heart was not a tumor but a normal variant. In the doctor’s eyes, our fetus was a child again. In our eyes, nothing had changed. I was never given the chance to truly choose life in a hard situation; but then again, it was never my choice to begin with.

In the doctor’s eyes, our fetus was a child again. In our eyes, nothing had changed.

My son is now approaching 7, and I’ve pondered this event many times. I’m still in shock over what happened that day—not the shock of surprise, but the shock of sadness and disgust. As my wife and I have considered that conversation over the years, we’ve felt a large pull to help the Right to Life movement.

Here are a few things busy people can do to fight for the life of unborn children.

Pray

Pray for moms who are considering an abortion, families who want to adopt children, and doctors who make a living aborting them.

Engage

Take part in a Right to Life march. Engage your pro-choice friends in sane and calm arguments. Scott Klusendorf’s book The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture might help in this regard. The best argument is a simple one: Gently ask the people you’re debating what they think the mother is carrying. How they answer that question will guide your conversation. You never know how winning one person over to the pro-life side may affect

Be Generous

Consider giving money to a pregnancy center for an ultrasound machine, or to a couple to help pay their adoption costs.

Debunk the myth that Christians stop caring for babies once they’re born.

Continue to debunk the myth that Christians stop caring for babies once they’re born. You might be surprised how many people believe it.

Consider Foster Care or Adoption

I have friends who adopted the child of a young teenager who, despite her parents’ wishes, carried the baby to term. Our family has had the joy of fostering multiple children, bringing them home a few days after birth. We’ve loved them deeply even as we’ve sought to debunk the myth that Christians don’t care for children after they are born. We’ve been given many opportunities to talk about Jesus in a natural way as these children have entered our home.

Churches that purposefully engage in this create a culture that celebrates and encourages families to adopt or foster.

Love Your Own Kids Well

They are sweet little image bearers in need of a great and merciful Savior. I don’t want to be known as an advocate for unborn children but not an advocate and provider for my own.

Do More

Is there more that could be done? Yes! As we mourn Roe v. Wade and what happened recently in New York, let us engage in a variety of ways to care for the unborn, address the reasons people consider abortions, train apologists to defend the unborn, create compelling videos and print material, advocate for children who need to be protected, open our homes to orphans, vote for legislators who will outlaw murder, and more.

We cannot do too much for this cause.

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