Monday, November 15, 2010

Who Are We To Judge?

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.


Anonymous said...


Thank you for having the courage to say what needs to be said. There are many in the community who are thankful for this coverage of this oft-neglected topic.

God bless, and thank you.

Anonymous said...

Well said Karen. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

"I’m glad I never had to face that decision."

And under ObamaCare, you never will (Google "paul krugman death panels" for details).

Anonymous said...

Fantastic debate.

We side with the Brooks decision.

Anonymous said...

I am a member of this couple's church. I am also a healthcare provider. I have to admit, when I first heard what was happening, my thought was that I couldn't do what they did. Their strength and courage should remind all of us that, while we plan as well as possible, sometimes life doesn't go along with our plans. On the Sunday morning after Skylar's birth, we rejoiced in her birth and prayed for healing and mercy for Kip and Shannon. May they continue to experience this as time heals the ragged wounds of their hearts.

Anonymous said...

I traveled this road myself. I had to make a decission (although it wasn't a difficult decission to make because my son was a person and I would never choose to kill him). However, the medical people I delt with made it very obvious that in their eyes I made the wrong choice. I had to fight for my son every single day. I hope to one day be a voice for other mothers going through this. To be their support when they feel everyone is against them. It is a lonely feeling to be the one person who loves your child and everyone else around you wants him dead. Thank you for putting faces to this story. I hope it doesn't end with this one story, but is brought up again and again, over and over

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 11/16 7:43am...please contact Sandy or Tracy. We would love to hear your story and talk about you being a voice for other mothers.

Unknown said...

Ms. Garloch,
Thank you so much for your insightful and compassionate series about the Brooks and their experience. About 37 years ago I went through a similar experience but without the benefit(or some might say the dilemmna) of untrasound. After a very long labor and a C-section,I delivered a baby girl with a fatal birth defect and she lived almost 24 hours. Unfortunately, those around me, with good intentions, attempted to erase the experience and her short life. I never held her. It is so very important to acknowledge the baby as a person. After all, from the mother's perspective the child has been a real being for the entire pregnancy. A real person who happened to live a very short life. Grieving is essential. I have been blessed to have two healthy and loving and wonderful sons (and now a grandson!) but Meredith Elizabeth is always with me.

Anonymous said...

My question is who the heck gave us sinful mortals the authority to decide what's 'best' for a voiceless, defenseless developing pre-born baby human?

Every single baby human, regardless of deformity or how the baby was conceived, has the inalienable right to at least breach and gasp some air to live.

If a baby, fetus, whatever is NOT human, then what the heck is it, an alien from outer space?

We humans, pre-born and born, are NOT CHOICES. We are creatures created in the image of a God that owns our lives. He gave us life. What we do with our lives is our gift to God and when destroy that gift, we destroy our humanity towards ourselves, the human future and God.


Tammy C said...

17 years ago a couple I knew had this happen with their daughter.The baby was to be born at the end of May but came on Good Friday of 1994.She lived for 10 minutes.Our church supported the couple in prayer and gifts.One thing we did was fill a box with little gifts of encouragment so that each day of the pregnacy there was something for the mom to open.

Thankully in 1996 they had a healthy boy.

Anonymous said...

My daughter has a similar conditon her was called acute aplasia congintia and for someone to say that this was selfish of this couple to contiue on in the pregancy really makes me mad U never know what it is like to be carrying a baby that all the doctors tell u that ur child wont live when u are feeling ur percious baby move inside of u and kick and do all the things a healthy pregancy experience! Luckly my daughter is 15 months old now and is doing great but for someone to judge these amazing couple for keeping their baby is just very disrespectful to them and all of the other mothers who have to experience this

Mona said...


My name is Mona. I never read the Charlotte Observer but for the second weekend consecutively a family friend gave me his paper. I was drawn to the story of Shannon and Kip and support their decision.

Life deserves a chance and no one knows what lies ahead for baby Skylar. We all know what statistics say but God doesn't operate on statistics. God operates on FAITH! I encourage the Brooks to "call those things that be not (Skylar's birth defect) as though they were (Skylar born alive, healthy and strong). "

I can only imagine the difficult time they are going through but I'm crazy enough to believe in miracles. Thank you (Kip and Shannon) for giving your baby a chance at life.

No one should have to live life in "what if."

Chrissy said...

My name is Chrissy. I recently went through the same thing, but a little differernt. I gave birth to twins in February, one of them had anencephaly. My son Cayden, lived 3days and touched so many lives in the short time he was with us! This family is AMAZING for giving Skylar a chance. Every child deserves that! This is a hard journey, but worth every second.

Peggy said...

Karen, I want to compliment you on a story well-done. It is such a beautiful portrayal of the journey my kids have had this past year. You expressed in such perfect words the beauty, the peace, the honor we all felt being on the inner circle of this awesome experience. Skylar was a beautiful little angel, brought here for such a short time, but in that short time, was able to accomplish so much. You told her story perfectly. You are an articulate, gifted, and sensitive writer.
I am so heartened to see all the wonderful comments written. Know that Michael's and Shannon's family appreciate what you did, more than we can express in words. God bless you!