Have you ever played Would You Rather? It’s this silly game that prompts you to answer the craziest questions making a choice between two unfavorable responses. Both choices are crappy and usually require you to pick which is less gross, less painful or less devastating. Either way, a sacrifice has to be made and you lose something in the choice. I believe they made one of those corny teen-slasher movies with this title too… I vaguely remember seeing an image while scrolling through Netflix of a razor blade near an eyeball (*yikes*). Some of the gory SAW movies put people in situations like that too. In order to save themselves, they have to get a key out of their own stomach or remove a limb or something horrifying. I hate those movies btw… If you’ve never heard of the game (or film), here are a few examples of the questions: “would you rather… drink a bucket of someone else’s spit or go for a swim in a septic tank?” Did you just vomit a little bit in your mouth? I’m sure you did… Another less gross example is, “would you rather be present at the beginning of the world or the end of the world?” Choosing “both” or “neither” isn’t an option. Take a second and think about how you would answer either of those questions. Pretty hard, right? You have your reasons for whatever you choose but the choice itself, isn’t easy. You’re forced into a situation where you have to make a decision you don’t want to make. Angel parents often have these forced choice situations without the luxury of deciding not to play the game anymore.
You might be wondering, “What kind of forced choices do angel parent’s have to make?” Here’s a few examples that have come up in my conversations with other angel parents:
You could start your labor now in the hospital w/ support, OR wait for the miscarriage to happen at home.
You could try to have this baby and risk both of you dying OR have a D&E now to save your life.
You could wait to see if the baby(ies) will reach viability and risk developing an infection that could render you without a uterus OR you could induce labor now but the baby(ies) won’t survive.
You can try to conceive with our assistance costing $xx,xxx.xx OR likely not have children because you need $xx,xxx.xx for a down payment on a home.
You can adopt OR you can continue fertility treatments.
You can risk all your savings on a “try” OR you can use your savings on an investment (e.g. home, relocation, business, etc.).
You can have this hysterectomy OR you will die.
You can use donor eggs OR never be pregnant again.
You can use a surrogate OR never have biological children.
I could try to have children now, alone, OR wait and risk being past “advanced maternal age” when I try.
Continue trying after a devastatingly traumatic birth/loss OR never risk experiencing that pain again.
I could vaginally birth my stillborn or soon-to-pass baby(ies) OR opt for a D&E to avoid birth trauma.
These… these are some of the hardest decisions a person will ever have to make in a lifetime. These are decisions that may seem right in the moment but feel like trash afterwards OR feel like trash in the moment but time & clarity lead you more towards acceptance. Regardless, the choices aren’t easily made and it’s almost inevitable for angel parent’s to go through a bargaining stage where you question what things would have been like if you’d made a different choice. The pressure of being forced into a situation you’d rather not be in AND one where you ultimately determine the unfavorable outcome carries A LOT of weight. Yet another reason those siblings from hell (shame & guilt – check out the original entry HERE) are frequent visitors to angel parents. So what do we need/how can you help? Validate, support, help weigh options, be a listening ear (not a talking mouth), give consensual hugs, allow space for tears, fears and anger, and remember you are likely witnessing your loved one make one of (if not THE) hardest “would you rather” choice they will ever have to make. That’s a privileged position to be in (being a witness) so if you’re privy, use that privilege to help make things “less worse”.
As usual, sending healing vibes & <3 into the universe for you <3<3.