That is Jack's foot on the left, at about 25 weeks. On the right is our super cute, Mr. Jackpants today. I posted this photo to Facebook and with it, I wrote:
"There's this article making the rounds. It's about the resuscitation of micro preemies. Specifically, about the so-called "worth" of saving these little ones, given the fact that the majority will face life-long medical issues. Every time an article like this comes out, I just wish the naysayers could spend five minutes with our boy. Just a few minutes of their time would be more powerful than anything I could ever write, than any word I could speak. But still, we try. We write. We advocate. Proving the "worth" of my child is almost offensive because this kid, he is a GIFT. So I will keep telling his story."
Here's the thing, friends. I'm getting tired of having to prove Jack's worth for being on this earth.
(Yes, you read that sentence right)
The days of polite pleading, "please try to look at things my way"... yeah, I'm so over that. Because this is my son we are talking about here. Not a hypothetical, pie in the sky, scenario.
There is something seriously wrong with our society when our idea of so-called perfection clouds our vision to the beauty that is right in front of us.
I remember stumbling upon an online forum a year or so ago. Someone had posted a link to Life with Jack, innocently pointing out his story. Below it was the most vitriolic line of comments I had yet seen in regards to my own boy. Hundreds of responses, horrifying to this mama heart I tell you, about how my son shouldn't have been given the chance at life. How we should have pulled support. "But he has so many health problems! He has, like, brain damage and shunts and surgeries. Is it a good idea to keep these kind of babies alive? I don't think that was the right choice."
My eyes were opened to a cruel truth that day. There are people on this earth, that for whatever reason, think kids like Jack should not be alive. Maybe they would phrase it differently. Like the most humane thing to do would be to not let them "suffer". Or maybe they would say the costs of caring for these little "unfortunate" ones outweigh the benefit of their care. If you think I'm being over-sensitive, you can go read the comments section of the NYT's article or really, any popular post making the rounds about special needs, but it will only prove my point.
I think that any parent facing the likelihood of raising a micropreemie should be educated by a doctor who is not playing God. Someone that will give them the statistics, the numbers, the outcomes. But these parents should also know that the worth of that precious baby is not diminished by their rocky start, their future development delays, their health concerns or the price tag.
Do we really live in a world where we are so afraid of different, so afraid of unique, so afraid of some extra work, that we scare parents away from taking that glorious mirco parenting leap?
If I've learned anything on this blogging journey, if I've taken away anything from my fellow preemie parents, it's this: we rise to the occasion.
And we are better for it. We are stronger for it. Our children are not burdens. Let me repeat. They are not burdens in the home or out of the home.
They are gifts. Not to be pitied. Not to be diminished. Their worth is innate. Not given by me. Not given by you.