Saving lives one baby at a time | Miriam Sciberras

I too am a woman, but I do not exist only as myself. I do not decide to do only what is comfortable for me to do. There are rights and responsibilities that we have towards each other. It is what makes us human and part of the human family

A newborn child brings hope to the world. Right from the start, a positive test, the very first heartbeat, first scan, this unique life makes his or her presence felt right from the start.

In hidden silence, this microscopic human being makes his or her way towards the womb, doubling in size as it travels, and starts nesting in the wall of the womb. In scientific language, the embryo, travels along the fallopian tube, multiplying in size as it travels, and starts nidation in the endometrium, the start of placental formation.

Same journey, different language, one is common language, the other is science, the science of embryology. This is the journey travelled by most of us conceived naturally.

So fragile, so vulnerable, yet so complete. The wonderful videos on conception and beginning of life and embryo development show the magnificent coordination of an organism that is unique from the start.

For couples who are eagerly expecting this to happen, the wonder of science becomes an experience in which they rejoice. Science has given us an early window in the womb and 3-D videos bring us face to face with this new individual. 3D baby models can now even be printed from scans and have been printed for the new parents to see how their offspring is growing.  Science at the service of mankind shows us without any doubt that a new human being or beings are here with us and growing.

In hospital visits the expectant mother and father are encouraged to follow healthy diets and to start bonding with their child in the womb. They are taught that the child’s wellbeing is impacted by this bonding, that the child will recognize their voices as she or he grow. This is so evident at birth as the newborn baby calms down when surrounded by familiar voices. Even babies in an incubator settle when touched by their mother and hear her voice.

All the elements of our humanity come together in welcoming a new life.

There is however many a sad story when new life is rejected. Circumstances may be such that the news of a new life creates a panic, a fear of the unknown, unplanned and unexpected, and this sends the new parent/parents into shock.

As with many incidents in life, the unexpected throws one into panic mode. A one night stand, an affair, abuse or domestic violence, another mouth to feed when financially constrained, wrong timing, and so many other reasons.

Fear sets in, as realization dawns on us that life is about to change.

In these instances, it is so important not to act in haste. As in other life traumas, or circumstances thrown at us, we know that acting in panic mode often leaves us regretting our decisions.

Speaking to the right people at this time is critical. We need someone who can hear us out, explain what is happening in our bodies, who can tell us the truth, and who is willing to accompany us to a doctor. This can be the calm in the storm. As the shock starts to pass and we feel safer, we can assess and charter ways of living this new reality.

Nothing will take us back in time. A woman cannot just become unpregnant. A positive test confirms that there is a new life growing inside her and that she is officially with child, a new mother. This is a fact. She now has a choice, to welcome or to reject the new life or lives, her son or daughter inside her.

Help is at hand. No woman needs to feel pregnant and alone. The Life Line Malta crisis pregnancy team are at hand to take your call, and walk with you. The counsellor will help you sift through your emotions and plan for the future.

If you need a home, our maternity home can help tide you through your pregnancy and up to a year until you feel empowered to move on.We  help you prepare to enter employment and find a home, and stand by you and your family for as long as you need support. The maternity home is now in its third year of operations and we have mums with threeyear old toddlers who are a success story as well as others who are slowly gaining independence but who still need support, both material and psychological for longer.

We have seen lives change. We have seen panic change into calm, we have seen the strength of women taken to the limit, we have cried with women who miscarried and with some who made wrong choices. The most impressive finale of working with women and girls in crisis or unplanned pregnancy is the birth of the child. The birth heals wounds, heals traumas, gives hope and starts a journey of love.

This is what we are living. It does not mean that life will be easy. It never is. It does not mean that there will not be challenges. Challenges will always be there. Embracing each and every life gives meaning and purpose. The stories of triumph of the human spirit are many and I hope to be able to share some of these in the near future.

Choosing life, even in the most difficult of circumstances is always the better choice. I am prochoice because I believe that both mother and child deserve the choices to live their lives.

There are others who dehumanize the child in the womb to justify eliminating that life. They take choice to new limits. They mock the Church and her teachings, forgetting the commandment ‘Thou shat not kill’. They ignore the facts of science which confirm what is happening and testify to new life. They play the woman’s rights card, and focus only on the right of the woman.

I too am a woman, but I do not exist only as myself. I do not decide to do only what is comfortable for me to do. There are rights and responsibilities that we have towards each other. It is what makes us human and part of the human family. In difficult circumstances  we need to be there for each other. We resolve problems not by eliminating lives, but by standing up in support of each other.

Last week we watched spellbound a baby being handed over to the American soldiers over the perimeter wall of the airport and over the barbed wire fence, for it to be evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan. The silent cheering and happiness was palpable as we, together with the rest of the world rejoiced at the child saved.

We cannot cheer for the life of one child far away without holding out our hands to pregnant women, until their child makes it to safety and we celebrate his or her birth.