Doctors Told Mom of Baby With Half a Heart to Abort Him, Now He’s Starting School

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Oct 31, 2016   |   3:39PM   |   London, England

If every mother took her doctor’s advice and aborted her unborn child because of a medical problem, one can only guess how many fewer children would be in the world today.

A number of moms have chosen to abort unborn babies with disabilities at doctors’ recommendations, but some moms like Charmaine Oates resist the pressure and make the courageous decision to give their babies the chance that they deserve.

Before Oates’s son Romeo was born, he was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Doctors told Oates that it would be “best” if she aborted him, according to the Daily Mail. Oates refused, and now Romeo is 4 years old and headed to preschool near his home in Merseyside, England.

“When we were told that Romeo had HLHS, the doctor said it would be best if we terminated the pregnancy,” Oates said. “But I’m a very stubborn person and James [her partner] and I believe that wherever there is even a little bit of life, there is hope.”

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Romeo was diagnosed with the heart condition during his mother’s 20-week pregnancy scan. Doctors told Oates that the left side of her son’s heart was not growing properly, and he would have only half a heart by the time he was born.

Oates and her partner refused to give up hope for their unborn son, despite doctors’ recommendations to “terminate” his life. Two days after Romeo was born, he had his first heart surgery, according to the report. Five more surgeries followed.

Four years later, his mother said he is doing better than expected. Romeo eventually may need a full heart transplant, but for now he is able to function fairly normally with medication. This fall, he began attending a local preschool.

“It has been really difficult but I am so glad we made that decision because he is a fabulous little boy and even though he only has half a heart he is living life to the full,” his mother told the news outlet.

“He has fought a battle that we never wanted him to have to fight. His body has tried to give up but his spirit and soul have said ‘no,’” she continued. “As a mum it is the last thing you would ever want for your child but he deserved a chance at the life he has now. He is so loved and we are so proud of him.”

Oates said she will never regret her decision to keep Romeo. She said caring for him has made their whole family stronger.

Since day one he has had a real spark. He is always smiling – even after his surgeries – and loves playing with his big brother. He has even started school now, it is amazing,” she said. “I really think every parent should take the chance we did. If your baby isn’t dying in the womb then why not give them a chance to survive in the world?”