I have no words to express how I am feeling this morning.
Last night, a woman was given devastating news.
This woman is an acquaintance from a message board. To be perfectly honest, I don't consider us friends. We don't email. We don't start threads addressed to each other. She is just one of the regulars on the board, as am I, and we have interacted through various posts over the last couple of years.
Yet my heart is breaking for her.
Hers is a story of years of infertility, miscarriages, and failed attempts at pregnancy. She has posted her troubles in bits and pieces, never asking for sympathy, never raging against circumstance. She was simply sharing parts of her life, as we all did. On a message board full of mothers, she was the much loved "mother to be". We all assured her that somehow, someday, she would have a baby to call her own.
She and her husband were in the process of adopting when the country they were working with all but shut down international adoptions. Our board bemoaned the unfairness of it, offered up advice and sympathy, prayers and good luck wishes. Then lo and behold, a new fertility treatment, experimental but with a high rate of success, was made available to this couple. They chose to go for it, to give one last shot at pregnancy and new life. The women on our board were thrilled; posts abounded with excitement and happiness. We held our collective breath, waiting as the days and weeks crept by, devouring every post she made that talked about blood tests and numbers and hormone levels. As the days passed, more and more posts were made with that flavor of certainty, that "this is it!" feeling.
And it was.
It was, two times over. Twins.
I cannot begin to express the unrestrained joy of a mom's board learning that there was another one of us in the making. If cyberspace can have a party, we threw a humdinger. With each post, each new doctor appointment, each mention of morning sickness, each question of maternity clothes, we celebrated.
It has been 20 weeks since that fateful procedure. Less than that since the confirmation of the pregnancy. Even less than that since the news of two heartbeats in one womb.
And now, this woman has learned that one of those heartbeats is housed in a body not meant for this world. A brain that will never develop. A life that will never know quality.
This woman, this mother, is being told by doctors that she should heavily consider ending her baby's existence before she ever draws a breath, so as to give her twin a better chance at life.
Is there any more devastating a choice?
Is there any heavier sorrow that could fall upon a mother?
How can one ever find peace and healing in circumstances like this?
I do not know this woman. I have never met her, never spoken to her on the phone. I do not know her last name or her husband's name. I do not know when her birthday is or what movies she likes best.
But I can feel her pain. It is palpable, even though a computer screen. I can hear her ravaged heart spilling into her words. I can see her confusion, her complete lack of understanding the why of it all.
I do not know this woman, and she does not know me. But we are connected on some level, connected through motherhood, through that unconditional love for the lives we bring forth into this world.
And my heart is breaking for her.