Just over a week ago, Catholic writer Tommy Tighe and his wife discovered heartbreaking news about their unborn baby.
During an ultrasound appointment, doctors informed the Tighes that their unborn son has a fatal condition called renal agenesis, in which the baby is missing one or both kidneys. Doctors told the family that babies with the condition usually live only a few minutes after birth. And, as often happens in these cases, doctors suggested an abortion.
This week, the father reflected on his family’s decision to choose life and their emotional journey since learning the news about their baby. He wrote at Aleteia:
From the first moment my wife and I were faced with a fatal diagnosis for our unborn baby, just last week, we’ve been clear about how we will move forward. We feel blessed by God to have the remainder of her pregnancy and the predicted few moments after birth to spend time loving our beautiful new son.
And yet while we knew from the start that we would walk this journey together as spouses and as a family, our situation has honed my sense of compassion to all those who have chosen differently.
The doctors presented us with a choice — termination versus seeing this through — and I can admit there was a part of me that wanted the whole situation to go away. I wanted to have it all be over, cope with it and move on. I wanted to pretend like this wasn’t happening, like our baby had never existed.
Keep up with the latest pro-life news and information on Twitter. Follow @LifeNewsHQ
Those feelings came out of the deep pain of recognizing that I don’t feel confident I have the strength to get through this.
We are seeing it through, of course, and that means while we are embracing the life our son has — engaging in this terrifying and heartbreaking waiting game — my heart has been dramatically opened to those who decided they could not do it.
I’ve spent much of my 33 years of my life professing my trust in God, my obedience to his will no matter what. But it’s only in a situation like this, when God is asking me to trust in the face of total despair, that I have come to realize what accepting his will really means. It means saying yes to being torn and bled, like Christ. It means exactly what Paul said in Hebrews 10:31: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.”
Tighe’s insights provide a better understanding of why many couples choose to abort an unborn baby with a fatal condition. Couples who are vulnerable in the midst of the heartbreaking news and overwhelming grief can be taken advantage of by health care workers and abortion advocates who suggest abortion.
But abortion is wrong, no matter how long a child may live. The Tighes recognize this even as they grieve their son’s fatal diagnosis. The family said they are clinging to their Catholic faith to help them through this difficult time.
“As my family walks on this journey, anticipating the most painful, bittersweet moment of our lives, we have nowhere else to turn. With tears in our eyes, we gaze upon Jesus on the crucifix, we gaze upon Mary holding the body of Jesus, in the Pieta, and we find another kind of peace, in a deep and quiet place,” Tighe wrote. “It is the peace that can only come when your quiet things are known, understood and met with unconditional love.”