Susan Thompson, a mother of seven, shared her story of choosing life on Facebook. At 28-years-old, already with two toddlers at home, Susan and her husband Mark found out what would shock any expectant parents: they weren’t just having one baby, they were having five! They were joyful at what they saw as God’s gift in their life. But not everyone was so happy. She writes, “Immediately, my doctor talked to me about selective reduction. When I said no, he sent me to a specialist who repeatedly asked me to consider reducing my pregnancy to triplets or even twins.”
Pregnancy with multiples can be challenging and dangerous for mom and babies. Because of these risks, parents of multiples are routinely pressured to “selectively reduce.” In other words, one or more of the babies is killed by abortion while the remaining children are allowed to live. No matter what the risks, Susan and her husband Mark knew they would embrace life for all of their children.
The journey was certainly not easy. Accounts of the pregnancy and birth reveal that Susan was on bed-rest for months, which is common for pregnancies with multiples. The babies were born eleven weeks early and were in the NICU for many weeks. Yet, even when the lives of their children were so fragile, Susan and Mark never stopped loving and caring for each of their children, never doubting their full humanity and potential. They welcomed Seth, Leah, Samuel, Hope, and Faith on January 7, 1995.
Susan makes a powerful connection in her Facebook posts by putting two pictures next to each other. The first is a fuzzy, black and white sonogram image of five unborn babies. The second is a picture of the day those five babies graduated from high school. Susan writes, “After graduation, three joined the military to serve our country and two are pursuing careers in the medical field. They are all responsible adults who love God and make this world a better place.” In the debate about abortion, there are few images as powerful as the ultrasound: the undeniable proof that the child in the womb is human is there before our eyes. It becomes clear that the people happily celebrating their graduation are the very same people who were crowded into their mother’s womb.
Thinking about the possibility of “selectively reducing” before the quintuplets were born, Susan says, “20 years later I look back and can’t imagine our lives without any of them.” Which child’s life would be worth an easier pregnancy and fewer weeks in the NICU? Each of those children – Seth, Leah, Samuel, Hope, and Faith – had the same right to life.
In her beautiful conclusion, Susan writes about how her sacrifices to bring the quintuplets into the work carries on in their lives: “I chose to save their lives and now they are saving the lives of others.” Serving in the military and working in the medical field, Susan’s children will go on to touch countless lives through their own sacrifices. The story of their five unique lives are only possible because all five were allowed to be born.