Baby Matthew with his mom and dad. Photo cred: GoFundMe page
Some of you may have see the Fox News article about baby Matthew. Matthew's mom, Ariann, was told when she was halfway through her pregnancy that Matthew was missing most or all of his brain. She was told that he would not live more than a few weeks after birth, and there was a good chance he wouldn't even make it to birth.
Their solution? Abortion.
Thankfully, Drew and Ariann are believers. They knew that Matthew's life mattered, and that they were going to cherish every moment they had with him. To prepare for the worst, they made as many memories as they could. They did everything they could to enjoy the pregnancy and experience life with their precious baby.
Then, the unbelieveable happened.
Ariann was induced at 37 weeks and Matthew was born alive. Not only alive, but he was breathing well and regulating his heartbeat on his own. Further, he latched on and nursed well right away (no small feat for any 37 week old baby).
Ariann and Drew decided to do an MRI to find out what was going on. Matthew did have fluid on his brain, but he has an incredible chance at being treated successfully and living a normal life. He may have some developmental delays or disabilities, but then again, he may not.
Ariann and Drew did the right thing. If you go to their GoFundMe page you'll see that they wrote: "We know God was protecting us and our beautiful baby boy, and we had put our faith in His hands, come whatever may. "
This is incredible. What a beautiful, beautiful story.
Can I be honest though? I'm cringing a little.
Because I know what's coming. The inevitable, "wow, its so great they didn't have an abortion, because the baby is going to be totally fine!"
Yes, it's great that they didn't have an abortion. Phenomenal, actually. I think these parents are amazing and I wish I could meet them and tell them in person.
It's also great that this little guy is going to make it. He's going to have an awesome life, with awesome parents, and he's going to know that he's a walking miracle.
The problem is putting those sentences together.
I'm not really very good at using proper grammar. Just ask the people that have to proofread my writing. However, I do understand that when you say "because" you're qualifying the statement. Try this on for size: "It's great that you didn't cross the road, because you would have been hit by that car."
So why is it great that you didn't cross the road? Because a car came barrelling through and could have killed you. Conversely, had the car not been involved, crossing the road would have been fine. No big deal.
So, in the case of little Matthew, what people will be saying is that it's great that he's alive because he's really doing quite well. The flip side of that is that if the doctors had been right, abortion would have been the better choice. What they're saying is that Matthew's value is conditional on the doctors being wrong. Had they been right, maybe he wouldn't have been worth saving.
What do we say to people when they have an adverse prenatal diagnosis? We say things like, "You know, the doctors are wrong a lot, they could be wrong this time." Or, "I know so-and-so thought their baby would have problems, but she ended up being completely fine!"
On the face of it, these assurances seem helpful. But in a way, they're reinforcing this culture of death that we live in.
What if we let babies live the life God intends for them? What if we, just like Drew and Ariann, said that no matter the prognosis we're leaving the baby's life in God's hands?
Someone's life doesn't become more valuable because of how long they live it, and it's not OK to kill people because they're going to die soon anyway.
Let's let the babies live. Maybe their life is only going to last for a few more weeks, or months, or only a year or so. Maybe it looks different than we want it to look, and maybe they need a lot of care.
That's OK. Let them live and let God decide when He's ready to take them home.
More than that, let's guard our words. Don't cheapen a child's life because it's shorter than we would like. Don't celebrate Matthew's life because he has a good chance at being very healthy. Let's celebrate Matthew's life because he's Matthew. He is a beautiful child created in the image of God and he has the right to live his life - no matter how long or short it is.
Changing Lives Together,
Sarah M. Bowen
Will you join us in praying for baby Matthew and his family? He will still need medical help to heal. If you would like to donate or leave an encouraging message check out their GoFundMe page!