As expected, the ongoing series about Shannon and Kip Brooks and their decision to give birth to a baby with a fatal birth defect has prompted debate about whether they made the right choice.
One blog reader wrote:: "...Shame on this selfish couple to bring a dead fetus to term..."
On the contrary, many have praised Shannon and Kip for their courage and love in choosing to meet their daughter Skylar if only for 99 minutes.
Most of us will agree with one reader’s comment: "I’m glad I never had to face that decision."
To me, one of the main points of the series is that Shannon and Kip, faced with two terrible choices, made the decision that was right for them even though it might not have been the easiest or most common.
Many parents who have faced similar prenatal diagnoses say they didn't feel they had a choice.
In response to the series, someone I have known for years confided that she "terminated" a pregnancy several years ago when she got the news that her unborn baby had anencephaly.
She had a full-time job and a 3-year-old at home, and although she knew intellectually that she had a choice, she felt pushed toward “termination,” which didn't even seem to equate with abortion.
"What I heard (the obstetrician) say was 'This is what you should do. This is what everyone does in this situation.'...I personally didn't really feel like there was a choice."
Maybe the story of Shannon and Kip will teach health-care professionals to explain the choices more clearly, with the understanding that not all people may choose what is medically most expedient.
And maybe it will teach the rest of us to withhold judgment and respect the difficult choices others are forced to make.
Karen Garloch has been writing about health and medicine for the Charlotte Observer for more than 20 years. Subjects range from AIDS to cancer to obesity. She has also written about her personal struggles with high cholesterol and getting care for aging parents.