I had what I consider a deep a conversation with a new acquaintance the other day. That conversation won't leave me. It continues to stick even days later. The conversation wasn't bad. In fact, I rather enjoyed it (for the most part).
I'm guessing it was a cultural thing, but the woman asked such intimate questions without hesitation or reserve. I grappled for answers, not because I didn't want to share, but because they made me think. I like that!
It is one question in particular that lingers though.
She asked me about the Dancing Queen and whether DQ would need other surgeries. I usually cringe at that question--there is so much to explain so that I don't get people second-guessing our decision. But, with this woman, the answer seemed to come easily.
Then she asked if I had known about DQ's heart defects when I was pregnant. I explained that, yes, we knew.
Then, without reservation or pause, she asked why I didn't terminate my pregnancy if I knew.
Of course I knew how to answer the question. I was asked at the time if I wanted to terminate my pregnancy.
The woman wanted to know if it was a religious decision. I admit, I laughed at that. But I told her what I told the genetic counselor 5.5 years ago: Ending my pregnancy was never an option for me. DQ was my baby before I was pregnant. I loved her from the moment I felt the pangs of illness and knew that I was pregnant. There was never a choice. I had to fight for my baby and give her every chance at life.
I think it was really hard for this woman to understand. I don't know if it was cultural or because she has not had a child of her own or if it was something else entirely. I know what she perceived about my life scared the hell out of her. But she doesn't know DQ, doesn't know the smiles, the love, the hugs. She never saw DQ dancing in a hospital bed or felt the weight of her hugs. All this woman knew about was surgeries and hospice.
But I still think about that question each day. How dare anyone question whether my daughter ought to have had the right to live!
I have no regrets about having DQ. She, TRex, and MS are the best parts of my life. Do I wish DQ didn't have to suffer so much pain? Do I wish we didn't have to think about her dying? HELL, YES, TO BOTH!
But ending my pregnancy would not have been right. DQ has so much more joy than pain*; so many more smiles than grimaces; so much LIFE.
And no matter what I have done in this world, my daughter has done more. I may be an attorney with an "important" job, but she is the one who inspires. She brings joy. My life would not have had the same meaning, the same depth without her in it.
If I could have one wish for the world, it would be that everyone understands that no matter how small you are, how short your time, or how alone you feel, you CAN make a difference. Touch one soul and you can change the world. I know it is possible. My daughter has proven that to me!
* Or at least she doesn't let the pain take away from her joy. I don't know which.