A Woman who dared to tread on a road less travelled

Today I bring to you a real and incredible story of a special mother of great strength and courage. This story first and foremost is of faith and of acceptance that life is sometimes about crosses to be borne cheerfully and resolutely. I have the unique privilege of sharing my friend Jaya Jacob's story. A story of her unexpected invitation to maternity and giving birth to a child she was told she would never hold. A story of nothing less than a heroic choice, which may seem foolish to many but has much value in eternity. Jaya and her husband had discovered they were pregnant for the first time and were joyous and thrilled as they were entering this new phase in life. However in a few days time everything changed. One night she experienced severe bleeding and was rushed to the hospital. The doctor’s diagnosis initially confirmed a miscarriage, but the ultrasound proved otherwise. The fetus was healthy and living.

At the 12th week scheduled a routine scan, she was told those awful words that no parent should ever hear “Your baby is not normal”. She was told the brain matter of the child was outside. Subsequently she was advised to go to a high-risk pregnancy-scanning institute and confirm the results. Here she had the option of a second ultrasound monitor where she could view the fetus as the radiologist did the examination. She patiently watched as they carried out their duties. They showed her how well the heart was beating and the baby was growing and provided explanation every step of the way. In the end the doctor stated, “Your baby’s skull is not formed” and explained what the statement meant. Jaya was alone in the room with the doctor at this point with no support as this is the norm in India. Jaya’s response to the doctor was “now what”. To this, the reply was “terminate the pregnancy”. She enquired with the doctor if waiting and going for another scan would improve the situation at hand. The doctor’s response was, “if it were to improve, it would have happened within the first 8 weeks of pregnancy and there is no chance of this happening in the future”. The sound of this statement was a shattering blow to her in her fragile mental state. She could not get herself to think of terminating her child whom she had carried and cared for 12 weeks. Finally mustering courage she informed the doctor of her decision to continue the pregnancy. After she made the statement she broke down sobbing, consumed in a flood of tears. The radiologist stepped in and comforted her saying she would support her with her decision. This was reassuring and her heart was rooted to believe God would work out a miracle.

She went to her consultant doctor with the hope that the doctor would render the same support as the radiologist did. However, she was astounded as the doctor reprimanded her and left her with the single choice of terminating the pregnancy.  She put her face forward like a flint and pleaded with God to change her situation around.She decided to go down to her hometown to find doctors who would support her through her decision. To her surprise, she found that all the doctors she approached seemed to have one final decision “Terminate the baby”. She battled in her mind saying, “God, how can I do this when I have not created this life. What right do I have to take it away”. Then she made the most heroic statement that a lot of women I know in my lifetime would not dare to make. She stated, “God, you are more than able to give me a healthy baby, but if you choose not to, you know best, I choose to be in your will and whatever the outcome I will not terminate this child, all I ask is for grace to go through this”. This is the one decision that made her the recipient of accusation and rejection. Yet she possessed a heart of gold in which rested an un-wavered and honorable decision.

From that moment till the 7th month, she had not consulted with any doctor as she had failed to identify any who would support her through her decision. She carried the baby gracefully, and with confidence knowing that her life and the baby’s life were in better hands. In her 7th month, a family friend referred her to a doctor. She was pleased to find out this doctor was supportive of her decision and offered her much encouragement. However, the doctor informed her to be mentally prepared for a C-section delivery as the baby’s skull was not strong enough to push through the birth canal. She and her husband committed this to God and were hopeful and certain that she would go through a normal delivery process.

In Jaya’s 8th month of pregnancy, on August 10, 2013, at 11 pm her water broke and she was admitted in the hospital. The examinations proved that there was no contraction and the uterus was relaxed. Jaya sought God much to take her through a normal delivery process. As soon as she hit the hospital bed she felt discomfort and knew in her heart that the birthing process had started. She gave birth through a normal process to a baby boy. The baby was taken to the NICU, where he rested till evening and passed away to be in a better place. Jaya tells me that though she cannot comprehend completely why she and the baby had to go through all of this, one thing she knows is that her heart is rested and she is guilt free. It was a painful process, but she tells me it was more painful and difficult to face people who were ignorant of the situation and who questioned her about her baby.

Trough all these circumstance she felt like she was walking closer to God and had a certain peace she could not explain. She does not clearly see the bigger picture, yet she is certain of one thing that she has been molded and changed to be a better person through this process. She sees herself with a renewed compassion, humility and newfound consideration for people. She has learned children are truly special gifts people own, and how precious life is and never to take it for granted.

Her message to people out there is, when you knowingly or unknowingly curse your child or decide to take life away from the womb, just stop for a moment and ask God to open the eyes of your understanding and to reveal to you how precious His creation is. He looks at each one of His created ones with much value. Let each one of us learn to value life in this light.

There are choices we make which stems out of  Faith and conviction and seem ridiculous. Jaya might have attracted much criticism for her decision. So many of us in Jaya’s situation would choose abortion, simply because we did not feel we could face the fatal diagnoses and the challenging journey into motherhood. Yet Jaya courageously defends her decision of carrying and giving birth to her son. I take this opportunity to celebrate and salute this woman of honor for being a trailblazer and for her stand in life.

My attempt in bringing this story out is not to gather a pity party group, rather see the brighter side of life, to emphasize life is valuable, no matter how small or vulnerable. Take a moment in life; in the life-altering choices we make to give the thought to what impact our decisions would have in the light of eternity. Are we willing to travel a road less traveled?