The mother who wrote last August sharing her choice of life for her unborn son with fetal abnormalities has written now, a year later, to share the powerful and moving story of her son’s ‘brief, beautiful life.’ Her letter was published in the Ottawa Citizen on Friday.
Last summer Genevieve Lanigan wrote to LifeSiteNews.com and Dr. Margaret Somerville, one of Canada’s leading ethicists, to share her experience of choosing life for her unborn child. Genevieve and her husband, Barry, had discovered with great joy after 7 months of marriage that they were expecting. While Genevieve’s pregnancy appeared to be progressing healthily, the couple were shocked to find out after their scheduled 20-week ultrasound that their child suffered from a hole in his brain stem, fluid in his brain, and a severe heart condition.
Genevieve, a practicing Catholic and a teacher in a Catholic school, recounted how she was offered a ‘termination’ from her doctor, a ‘treatment’ that statistics show is all-too-often offered and accepted. In the case of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome for instance, the abortion rate is as high as 95% in some Western countries. For Gevenieve, however, “[this] was not an option.”
The expectant mother persevered in choosing life, not knowing how long her child would live. “The little one in my womb is moving around, kicking his mother, and hopefully enjoying a refreshing swim,” she wrote at the time. “I am carrying this baby as long as he will let me, and will not be the killing hand.”
Pledging not to pursue extraordinary means, she said, “Our prayer is simple: That we will get to meet our little one, tell him that we love him, and watch him fall deep into a sleep that will bring him to heaven.”
Genevieve wrote to Citizen readers on Friday, responding to requests from readers to find out the end of the story. “Dr. Somerville has told me that many people have been wondering how the pregnancy ended,” she writes. “So, I would like to tell you that part of our story, which I lovingly sum up as ‘A Beautiful Life: 30 Days of Pure Love.'”
In early September 2008, less than a month after her first letter, Genevieve went into lab our, at around 35 weeks gestation. “At 11:30 p.m.,” she says, “4-lbs.-11-oz. Joseph Earl Francis was born via C-section and handed directly to his father, breathing on his own, and heart beating strongly. Barry and I quickly fell even more in love with him.”
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