Tuesday, April 02, 2013

State Of The Uterus Address, 2013

Young House Love

This post is primarily about why people shouldn't ask a woman if she is pregnant.  She leaves out "maybe she doesn't want kids" but that's not why I am posting this.  The thing that caught my eye were her particular reasons for wanting people not to ask.  You see, she had a dangerous birth complication with her last child (placental abruption) and is sensitive on the subject.

Furthermore,her next child will have a 1 in 4 chance of the same complication.  That sentence kind of chilled me there.  Her next child.  Will.  Reading between the lines, it seems she is leaning toward taking that risk, and certainly hasn't ruled it out.

Which leads me to ask - is this moral?  I could never confront someone on such a personal decision, and there seems to be a taboo against discussing it at all.  However, if we're talking about the welfare of a third party, I wonder if it is time to put that taboo to rest.  It might not be right to tell someone what to do, but I am unwilling to say the same about mere discourse.

Even if it's not - let's talk about this in the abstract.  When is the risk too high? At what point does it become unethical to subject a future child to danger?

There seems to be some consensus among tesach carriers.  Getting yourself tested and avoiding pregnancy is standard practice when you know your child will lead a short, agonizing life.  And we all basically start with the assumption that the natural risks of every pregnancy are well within the permissible zone.  However, I see very little discussion of the vast chasm in the middle.

I would like to know your thoughts.

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Anonymous said...

It's so interesting that you should write about this. We know a couple with a four year old on the Autism Spectrum. It runs in their families, and they are pregnant again. I have asked my husband so many times why anyone would want to risk having this happen again. It doesn't make sense to me.

Olimpia Martinotti said...

I agree, and I'm continuously horrified by the people documented on TV with really terrible birth defects or diseases that just HAVE to have a child. Really? Deciding to have a child knowing that the risks of complications or defects are high is a completely selfish and baffling decision. It's all very well and good if you're willing to care for a special-needs child all of their life if the risk doesn't end well, but is it fair to the child to purposely take your chances? I just don't get it.

Additionally, I could never imagine wanting to chance leaving my husband a widower and a single father due to a second high-risk pregnancy. That doesn't compute as love, for me.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous posters. While various ailments that seem to run in our families were not the reason DH and I decided not to have kids, it's one of the reasons I'm glad I will never have any. I sleep better at night knowing I will never be responsible for saddling someone with alcoholism, depression, autism, or early-onset Alzheimers.

Playing genetic roulette is the height of selfishness. On a philosophical level, I feel all births are morally indefensible simply because no one can consent to being born. But given that people aren't going to stop reproducing anytime soon, I accept that that particular concern of mine will remain abstract.

Purposefully sentencing someone to a short or painful life simply to satisfy your own emotional desire to have a child definitely is not abstract, however. It's truly reprehensible. If adoption is not an option for whatever reason, the unselfish thing to do would be to forgo parenthood in the interests of your (nonexistent, and therefore non-suffering) children. After all, you love them too much to sentence them to a life of suffering, right? RIGHT?