IRELAND — A couple in Ireland recently gave birth to a healthy baby boy after they rejected repeated pressure by doctors to abort the child over claims that he had fetal abnormalities.
Melanie and Damien Sheenan shared their story with the UK’s Christian Institute, and spoke of why they are glad that they gave their son life.
The situation began when Melanie had a routine scan at 20 weeks gestation.
“We went in to [see] the radiographer and there was just silence; she wouldn’t speak to us at all. She just said that there was something wrong,” she recalled.
A consultant then was paged to look at the scan, who then referred the couple to a specialist.
“He told us that there were severe abnormalities with the baby, that the brain wasn’t formed, the spine wasn’t formed,” Melanie said.
But after speaking with consultants at a specialty facility, the Sheenans were advised to abort.
“They felt that the child wouldn’t survive birth and if it did, it would be so profoundly disabled that, their words were, ‘it would have no quality of life,'” Melanie recalled. “I was put under immense pressure to go ahead with the abortion.”
“I had phone calls to my mobile and my house phone to tell me how many days, weeks that I had left till my 24-week cut-off [to have an abortion],” she continued. “Whenever we went to appointments, the nurse in charge of the consultant would introduce as as ‘the couple who was continuing with the pregnancy against medical advice.’ We were made to feel that we were doing something terribly wrong by wanting to keep our baby.”
Damien concurred that the doctors had advised that their son would not survive birth, and even if he did, “his quality of life would be so poor because he would be so severely disabled.”
“They thought that it probably wouldn’t be right to bring him into the world,” he said, “so that’s when they suggested the abortion to us.”
But the Sheenans rejected the abortion, and later gave birth to a baby boy that they named Joshua—who is totally healthy.
“The doctors’ diagnosis was completely inaccurate,” Melanie said.
“The doctors said that Joshua would be incompatible with life, and now he is sixteen weeks old and he’s brilliant,” Damien added. “He’s doing everything that he should be doing. He’s the best thing that’s happened to our family. We couldn’t imagine our family without him now. Just to see the joy and the love that he brings to the house.”
The couple said that they would encourage other families to always give their child a chance at life—no matter the situation.
“Even if mothers get hours, days or weeks with their baby, they say that it is the most precious time,” Melanie stated. “And in our circumstance, the doctors’ diagnosis was completely incorrect. … And if we would have went with the doctors’ diagnosis, he wouldn’t be here today.”
“The best advice that I can give is to carry on, because it is still a life, and God still has a plan,” she said.