Over and over, we hear the worn-out trope that abortion is safer for the mother than going through with childbirth. But there are some moms whose lives were amazingly saved by their children while still in the womb.
A Tennessee woman learned that she had leukemia when her bloodwork came back abnormal during a hospitalization for preterm labor. Because her twins were born early, she learned about her cancer early on and was able to start treatment right away. “I definitely think they saved my life,” the twins’ mother told the USA Today Network. “I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor” if not for the pregnancy.
A British woman learned from an MRI that symptoms she had attributed to her pregnancy were warning signs of early stage brain cancer. “As I was pregnant I couldn’t have a CT scan because it would have exposed me to radiation,” said (mom Lucy) Godfrey. “Instead, I had an MRI scan which revealed I had a brain tumor—a CT scan almost certainly wouldn’t have picked up on my tumor. I always tell everyone that my baby saved my life.”
In Austin, Texas, a pregnant woman who went to the emergency room for what she thought was pregnancy-related difficulty breathing learned that she had a life-threatening ascending aortic aneurysm. A heart surgeon at the hospital where she received surgery said that in many cases there are no symptoms before an aneurysm ruptures, and that over 50% of ruptured aneurysms leads to death.
In Seattle, Washington, a mom who chose life for her baby, Willow, who has a terminal illness, was saved when frequent ultrasounds during her pregnancy showed early signs of cervical cancer. “Willow saved my life. I wasn’t going to value myself over her, so after giving birth I had three inches of my cervix removed,” Katie Hanson said.
And in France, a pregnant woman admitted to the hospital for abdominal pain learned that her baby had literally covered over the area where her uterus had ruptured. Uterine rupture is a rare occurrence after C-section, and the pregnant mother had a C-section with an earlier pregnancy. When it occurs, uterine rupture is life-threatening and, not uncommonly, can be fatal due to rapid, excessive blood loss. But this woman’s baby had squished its back to cover the area where her uterus had torn apart, acting like a human suction-cup.
Research studies over the last 20 years even suggest that a preborn baby’s cells have fetal microchimerism, a remarkable ability to sense an injury in the mother’s body, go to the area that is injured, and develop into the type of maternal tissue that can fix the problem. This has been noted to occur in response to a mother having heart disease as well as mothers with intestinal, gallbladder, cervix, and thyroid issues.
Rather than viewing babies as a threat to women’s health and happiness, we as a society would do well to support the unique bond between mothers and their children. Quite literally, no one can do what they — moms and babies — can do for each other.
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