A mother of four has shared how doctors pressured her to abort two of her four children.
The anonymous mum refused each time and gave birth successfully on every occasion.
Tracy, not her real name, is sharing her story because she doesn’t want “to see families make decisions out of fear”.
Half a heart
When Tracy was pregnant with her second child, she found out at 23 weeks that the baby would be born with half a heart.
She and her husband were referred to a paediatric cardiologist who advised them to abort, telling them their child would die shortly after birth unless a heart donor could be found, which was very unlikely.
The worried parents declined. Eventually, they were referred to a clinic in Canada, where within a week their son had life-saving surgery.
In her fourth pregnancy, Tracy found out early on that she had a condition called MPA vasculitis. Without chemo, she would die within five months.
“They could not administer chemotherapy to a pregnant person, so we would have to abort our baby. I was older now and not so easily frightened. I said ‘no’ and I meant it.”
She explained how the medics were shocked at her decision.
“They teamed up on me, at times 3 on 1, insisting that I had to do the chemotherapy, that my child would not survive the pregnancy anyway and that the treatment I wanted would not work.”
They even tried to coerce her obstetrician into convincing Tracy to have an abortion, but he respected her decision. She went ahead with an alternative treatment, which proved successful.
“It was a difficult 6 months but I delivered a healthy baby girl. My choice cost me 70% of my kidney function but my baby lives and I have not regretted my decision for a single second.”
Tracy criticised those who hadn’t supported her throughout the process, saying: “These medical professionals who pressured me to have an abortion were not bad people who wanted to see my baby die.
“These were people who wanted to see me live but they did not respect my choice. There was no support for my unborn baby.”
‘Life is precious’
“Through all of this, it did not feel like I had a choice. I was told what to do and given certainties that were anything but. I had to fight for the lives of my children.”
She concluded: “Life is precious, we should cherish it”.