I’ve always loved the movie Steel Magnolias. Both the original version and this year’s Lifetime TV remake with Queen Latifah and Alfre Woodard made me cry buckets. I’m fascinated by the character of Shelby, a severely diabetic woman who risks her life and health to become pregnant despite warnings from her family and doctors.
As someone born with a complex heart condition, I always knew that getting pregnant could pose a big health risk. Some doctors thought that if I got pregnant it would be low-risk, and others thought there would be a huge risk of death. As much as I wanted to be a mom, I just didn’t have the guts to be like Shelby and take that chance. I was not willing to risk my life to bring another one into this world. Instead I opted for adoption as my path to motherhood. But, amazingly, there are many women who are willing to take that risk.
According to the experts, high risk pregnancies are on the rise and may be more common now than anytime in modern medical history (http://www.wthr.com/story/6074162/high-risk-pregnancies-rising-in-us?clienttype=printable). The main reason is the huge improvements in technology and modern medicine. Because of advanced medical research women who are organ transplant recipients, heart patients, breast cancer survivors and even infected with HIV can become pregnant without facing certain death. But for every high-risk new mom that gets to experience an easy pregnancy and child birth without complications, there’s a mom whose pregnancy nearly kills her.
Many of us know someone who has purposely gotten pregnant even though they have a medical condition that will require bed rest for most of their pregnancy. And many of us know women with health issues who have had near death experiences in their quests to become mothers. Honestly, I have to wonder if these women are martyrs or misguided. Risk your life to become a mom? Really??
At the end of Steel Magnolias, poor Shelby dies leaving her loved ones to mourn her. She leaves her family to ponder the words she spoke as she faced her high risk pregnancy
“I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special.”
Although the words are beautiful and poetic in a movie, I’m not brave enough to chance the odds in real life.
What about you? Would you willingly risk your life to be pregnant?
Words by Yolanda Darville
Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, communications strategist and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women. Learn more about her on her blog www.bahamamommyinc.com .