“This is the most difficult post in my life but I decided to write it as this is a life-and-death issue,” began Tomasz Stachura. His personal story is a powerful contribution to the ongoing debate about abortion provisions in Poland.
Four years ago Tomasz and his wife were awaiting the birth of their daughter Różyczka (Rose). Before long their joy was crushed by a devastating diagnosis: their daughter had grave congenital defects, so serious that the newborn would have no chance of survival.
The couple received none of the support that might be expected from their doctors. Support? Information about the medical condition? Advice on how to get ready for the unbearable situation? None of the above: all the consultant did was suggest an abortion, and that immediately, as the child would soon complete 21 weeks gestation and then, according to the law in place, abortion would be out of the question.
As Stachura observes in his post, “The advice we got was a blow [that hit] far harder than the information about our daughter’s serious defects.” In imagining what would have happened had they taken that advice, he notes that he and his wife would never have been able to cuddle their child in love. Nor would they have spent with Rose the most precious moments of their lives, as a family, moments which transformed the very way they look at life. The infant would have had no grave – a place of memorial where the family can now go, and light a candle, and pray, and love.
Most importantly, for the rest of his life, Stachura wrote, he would have wondered, and agonized, over whether the medical diagnosis had been correct, or whether Rose might have lived.
He added that had they decided on abortion, they would most probably not have wanted to have other children, and he himself would have felt offended by God for having dealt him so dire an experience. “We chose life. Różyczka was born into this world and lived with us a few hours, one of the hardest and at the same time the brightest moments of our life.”
In his post, in Polish, Różyczka’s father gives a very impassioned account of how he held his little daughter in his arms, every moment of her short life spent in being loved by her parents. At moments like these, he writes, “you feel such profound and utter love which is virtually unbearable; you cry tears of happiness and sorrow at the same time. This was a moment I experienced pure, disinterested Love.”
“Life is a huge gift; do not strip others of the right to life,” concludes Tomasz Stachura, who added a hashtag #czarnyprotest to his FB post. Last week on social media in Poland, many people posted pictures of themselves wearing black clothing, in protest of a move to adopt more stringent abortion provisions in that country. Tomasz Stachura’s account adds a strong, personal counterpoint to this debate.
The text was published in the Polish edition of Aleteia .