Thanks Dad

It’s been more than two weeks since I detailed our ordeal with little Alex, and I’m still getting crap from anti-choice zealots. Like these gems:

I am confused. Why is the couple supposed to feel better about having an abortion and cutting the obviously living baby’s life short? Why is that supposed to be better than letting nature take its course and delivering the stillborn baby? Is it because it’s less trouble for the parents? So they can get the baby’s death over and start the grieving process sooner? Wouldn’t it be harder to be the cause of my baby’s death after seeing an ultrasound, as they did? It seems to me there IS only one choice, to let this baby live as long as possible.

Here is the problem with the logic of this video. This guy is upset because he put great value in the 16 week old fetus that he calls “our baby”, but his lack of understanding for what these protesters are trying to do seems to give no value in the other “babies” that are killed at this location. He says it was one of the most difficult days of their lives, but has NO EMPATHY for the other babies murdered there and those trying to prevent their deaths.

The pro life lady was not yelling at anybody, you were yelling at her. Abortion is on demand worldwide, the killing of innocent human life is not rare but has become way too common. You should take a look in the mirror because you need to Repent.

Nice huh? Some real Mensa candidates in that bunch.

Thankfully, they’ve been the minority and all of you have been fantastic. As in spectacularly fucking supportive. I thought the best way to fight back was to send vitriolic responses to each and every one of them. But now I see the error of my ways. Instead, I’m going to be noticed. By as many people as possible. As difficult as it is to talk about this at times, I want to be heard. I want every protester possible to know our story so they realize exactly who they’re hurting when they stand outside shouting at people like gutless cowards. And you all have helped make that happen.

And now it’s my dad’s turn. Although he works for a stainless steel company, he used to be a journalist too. And even now he’s a columnist for the local newspaper in our hometown. So he wrote something and now I’m posting it here because I thought it was great and I wanted to share it with as many people as possible.

Thanks dad. I love you.

Abortion – it’s an ugly term.  It has a deservedly harsh connotation to it, conveying an untimely ending and something gone horribly wrong.

My son and daughter-in-law had to make a decision to terminate their pregnancy recently, a pregnancy nearly four months along.  They chose to do it, although in reality there was no choice.  But it was still incredibly difficult.

Their baby – my grandchild – had a rare and fatal congenital birth defect called Sirenomelia, otherwise known as Mermaid Syndrome.  Due to a vascular malfunction, the baby’s legs were fused together.  The baby had no bladder, no kidneys, and no chance of surviving.  The defect occurs once in about every 100,000 births.

The pain this caused my son and his wife, who very much wanted this second child, is indescribable.  You cannot possibly fathom the depths of their despair unless you have been in a similar position.  And while nowhere near as bad, the pain of having to watch our children go through this is something my wife and I pray we never have to experience again.

Our kids handled their situation with all the class, dignity and responsibility human beings can be expected to muster.  We are so proud, even as our hearts break for them.  Their strength and devotion to one another and their two-year-old son is the stuff of legends.

But their ordeal was made even more unnecessarily awful by the politics and social controversy surrounding the abortion issue.  On one of the worst days of their lives, they became victims again – this time at the hands of those trying to do God’s work while in fact doing just the opposite.

Although my daughter-in-law was treated at a major Boston hospital, the time-sensitive nature of the procedure necessitated it be done at an affiliated establishment.  After she and my son mustered the necessary courage and emotional strength to get where they had to go, they were met by something they had not considered in their grief – abortion protestors.

Two women were picketing outside the establishment, carrying signs and “communicating” with women walking in the door.  One carried a sign of religious symbolism.  As my son and his wife tried to enter the building where they would lose the baby they already loved so much, they were approached by the women.

“You’re killing your unborn baby!’ was the remark they would remember most as they walked past.  They were both furious and devastated, but held their tempers and concentrated on what needed to be done.  But once my daughter-in-law was in surgery, my son decided to take on the protestors.

In a calm but firm tone, he told them of his wife’s condition.  How they had accosted her at the most vulnerable point in her life.  How they had hurled accusations when they had no idea of the circumstances.  How they claimed to be protecting, yet seemed more intent on hurting.  And better yet, he recorded the entire conversation on his cell phone and posted it on his internet blog.

These particular protestors care about the unborn, but apparently are not concerned with those who have already come into the world.  They made no attempt to discover the circumstances and just assumed this was a couple ending an unwanted pregnancy.  To them, my kids were simply collateral damage in an ongoing war – the price to be paid for later success.

This column is not about a woman’s right to choose, although I have my own opinions on that matter.  It is about the culture of hatred and disrespect that people today foster when they single-mindedly focus on one goal to the exclusion of nearly all else.  It is about allowing the end to justify the means.

I am so proud of my son, and perhaps even more proud of his wife.  At a time of great personal turmoil, they did not just retreat inside their own grief – though no one would have blamed them.

Rather, they cared enough to take the time to explain to these people how their actions can destroy others.  How their words can scar forever.  How nothing is ever as clear or as simple as it seems.

I love them dearly, and I will never forget the lessons they have taught us all.

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28 thoughts on “Thanks Dad

  1. You have a whole family full of amazing support—so great. Go dad! I’ll link this one tomorrow too. Thanks (again, still) for speaking out on this.

  2. Aaron, now we know where you learned to be a great dad. Your dad ROCKS!

    I am so sorry that you are getting the hate-mail from anti-choice folks. I don’t know how you can deal with it.

    I believe that you and your wife did the ethical thing. But here is the thing. This isn’t about what I think OR what the haters think. This is about a family that faced and continues to try to cope with the unimaginable. You and your wife did what you needed to do for your entire family, including Alex. And that is what matters.

    The fact that the haters are now coming after you says so much about them and their need for narcissistic “righteousness”. They obviously feel that voicing their opinion is more important than the pain you and your family have been going through for a long time now. Only little people with little minds and shriveled hearts would behave in such a manner.

    You and your wife did what you both felt was best for your family. What I or anyone else thinks of that is of no consequence.

    To those who dare to judge you in such a time, I say this; FUCK OFF and be a decent human being for a change. These people are hurting.

    I am not a religious woman, so I will just think of you and your family and wish better things for you all, and that you all continue to survive this. I wish I could do more.

  3. I was just jumping from blog to blog and arrived here and read the story about the recent events in your family. My english is not very good so I think I understood a third of the video, but I thing i got the idea. Just want to tell you that I went over a similar situation 3 years ago. It was easier as we didnt find idiots in the hospital, but I just remember spending two full days looking at the ceeling at home, not beeing able to do anything more. Get over it, try to forget, learn about people around and take care of your wife as it is probably more complicated for her. Many times i think we the boys look this things from the sideline :). Now we have two litle boys that left that horrible experience in the past.

    goog luck

  4. I am still in awe of the strength and courage of both Aaron and MJ. I wish I could handle myself in the manner Aaron did with those protestors, it showed real character. I would probably still be in jail had it been me.

  5. I stumbled accross your story and it has captured my heart as my husband and I have only just last month gone through much the same ordeal. We lost our second and very wanted child at 17 weeks. Although I had a few choices, we made the choice that was best for us and our family as you have done. Our love goes out to you all during this time to heal and love each other including precious Alex. Just as we are loving each other and our Vanya.

  6. It is fahters like yours that make me miss mine more and more every day! You have an amazing and supportive family and I think that is so awesome! As hard as it may be, ignore the people who are throwing insultive or judgemental comments your way. Some people are just to closeminded to see the truths in the world. I hope you are all doing well! My thoughts are with you.

  7. These anti-choice morons are just ridiculous.
    Especially that first comment.
    You did the right thing, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
    -Shannon

  8. Michelle,

    I am sorry to hear that you have recently lost a baby yourself. I can’t imagine losing a child. I hope that you and your family find a way to heal from this.

  9. aaron-i just came from doodad’s blog. i’m so sorry to hear about your loss. you and your wife definitely had to make a hard choice. it was a brave one, and i have a lot of respect for both of you. i’m not fond of people trying to dictate other people on how to live their lives. no one can ever understand your circumstances until they have been there themselves. i think you confronting them was courageous. it’s also obvious to me that you have great support in your family. your dad is awesome.

  10. i came here via daddytypes and wanted to share with you a site that helped me greatly after the loss of our baby three years ago, http://www.glowinthewoods.com/ . there are both fathers and mothers who contribute. im glad you can talk about this as openly as you do, good luck on you and your wife’s path in healing.

  11. Dude, you’re the man. Aaron, I’m in love with your Dad. He is just Awesome.

  12. Tweet…”My dad (2nd best writer in the family) weight in on our recent situation with the abortion protesters. Thanks dad.”

    Weight in, huh? Pretty much nullified that jab, now didn’t ya? Hoisted by your own petard, as it were.

  13. Your dad’s piece is fantastic. You, MJ and Will obviously have an amazingly supportive and honorable family.

    The comments from the anti-choice zealots piss me off. Especially the first one. I’m actually SO pissed off that I can’t even write a good response as to its short-sightedness. All I keep writing are grammatically incorrect & incoherent phrases with some curses thrown in.

    I will continue to share your story. We hope you & your family are continuing to heal.

  14. Its kinda a funny how we spend our teenage years and early twenties trying to get our parents to stop fighting our battles for us, and then one mysterious, magical day, we realize they are not trying to fight them for us, but beside us. Love to the whole Gouveia family.

  15. Rock on. I love your dad too and how he stood by you and your family. Such love in those words.

    Thank you for sharing.

  16. That was fantastic. Your Dad is a great father and a great writer. He says it best in my mind when saying “nothing is ever as clear and simple as it seems.” It would be great if those hateful people had such wisdom. Continued love for all your family.

  17. That is the most ridiculous load of yuck I’ve read in a while (the email you received, not your dad’s lovely editorial, obviously). That individual doesn’t know much about abortion to begin with – available worldwide? Hardly – and knows even less about why people have abortion in cases of fatal fetal defects. Many, many of abortions resulting from fetal defects have nothing to do with making things easier on the parents (though honestly the idea of waiting for and delivering a baby you know will be dead or die at birth absolutely crushes my soul) and everything to do with preventing suffering on the part of a newborn whose fate will be to suffer and die during birth or suffer and die shortly after birth. Is that really what these anti-choice zealots consider compassion? Empathy? To bring a human being into a short-lived world of pain and discomfort? It just makes me sick to my stomach, and I’m terribly sorry you’re still getting mail from people like that who must know nothing of real empathy.

  18. I meant to comment on this earlier. Part of why it was so much fun to beat you and the Old Guy is that I knew you were a team. You guys understand loyalty and that is a commodity that is in rare supply these days.

  19. What can I say? Your Dad rocks! And he’s got a great sense of humor, too. He’s also got a way with words and his editorial was a wonderful tribute to his son and daughter-in-law.

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