I’m going to ask you all to journey with me into an imaginary world. A parallel universe if you will. This world bears some similarity with the one of H.G Wells’ Eloi from his book The Time Machine. And possibly something from Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games as well.
It’s a nice world to live in, really. You are relatively happy there. You get to spend a great deal of time with your child and you generally feel fulfilled. There is this small matter of the alien usurpers that govern the world but in daily life, you don’t even notice them. Afterall, they did manage to rule out world hunger and poverty, so at times you are even grateful to them.
Every once in a while, however, the aliens impose their Lottery. It is a constant little threat that buzzes at a corner of your head. The Lottery picks out subjects at random, which are then summoned to the alien High Office. No one really knows what happens there but everyone agrees it’s nasty. Sometimes the subjects are adults, sometimes children. Even babies don’t escape the Lottery. But it has never happened to you or anyone you know. So, you are quite comfortable and don’t even mind following the Lottery outcomes.
Until that fatal Lottery Day. You don’t even know your child’s name is picked until you see his hypodermal chip changing colour. At first you try to deny it. It has to be a play of the light. A mistake, maybe. But then it is on the news as well. Your son is the new subject and he hasn’t come in yet like he should have. The aliens are coming for him.
Being accustomed to human habits, they allow you to go with him, although they advise against it. Of course you go. All parents do, the aliens say. Humans never listen to reason.
In the following weeks, your child is poked around. Needles, infusions and pills. He has to swallow big magnet-like sensors and gets extra chips. Wires go in and out. He is brave and endures. You can see his anxiety, but you assure him it should be over soon. That’s what they tell you anyway.
Then the pain comes. And his screams. Oh, his screams. You kiss his forehead, telling him to hold on. The aliens don’t give in to your pleas to stop. To please stop.
The pain comes and goes. In between, he is exhausted, but brave, still. You believe he is so much braver than you are.
One day, the aliens take you aside for a little talk. They inform you your child isn’t going to be one of those subjects that gets to go home after a memory wipe. Their studies show he actually is an excellent subject for their experiments. He is quite special. He is going to stay at the High Office forever. As long as his little body can endure anyway.
It’s your time to scream now. Your legs give in. You beg them to take you instead. There must be some similarities between the both of you, you plea. Maybe you would make an even better subject. You might be able to endure longer than your precious little boy.
Of course they don’t give in. That was not how the Lottery works. It’s your child they want.
So, day in, day out, you watch your child suffer. When you can’t bear looking, you still hear him anyway.
One day, the pain is exceptionally hard to cope with. Out of breath, your child tells you again he can’t do it anymore. He doesn’t even care for going home anymore. He just wants it all to stop.
For the first time you can’t find the strength to tell him to hold on. Why would he? The door is locked and guarded. And the aliens seem more thrilled with their results every day.
They will never let him go now.
This is why in Belgium, as of February 2014, euthanasia for minors was legalized.
We don’t have aliens here (yet) but we do have children suffering from terminal illness. Children with no other perspective in life than death.
Some are born into it; others see their life changing overnight. Some are in constant, barely sedated, pain; others are sitting out their time. Some have a clear will about what they want from life; others only know the difference between comfort and discomfort. Some will want to live; others will want to die.
I don’t expect you all to fully agree with this law. I do understand there are various objections, moral and religious. I do realize there are fears of misjudgement, or even misuse.
But for me, I’m mostly relieved and confident.
Relieved these children will now be able to make the most important decision of their lives. Confident they will be able to make the right choice with the support of their parents and doctors. They have my support too.
How about you? Would you be able to support a child or a parent on such decision? Are there laws for or against euthanasia for minors in your part of the world?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by K10K from The Penguin and The Panther.
The picture in this post is credited to the author.
About three weeks ago, I logged onto my WordPress dashboard and noticed that I had a massive spike in my page views, all linking to one post that I written about a year ago in a fit of anger. Further research lead me to realize that a German blogging news group had linked back to my post about the time I discovered someone was stealing photographs of my son on Instagram. In an instant, my small blog was exposed to thousands of people I had never met, and the thought scared me.
It scared me because now thousands of people I had never met now knew what my son looked like. What his name was. Where we lived.
When I started my blog on Blogger.com, it was to chronicle our adventures living in a hotel for 100 days while we patiently waited for our visas to be approved so we could finally leave the US for Paris. My followers consisted of my mom, my mother-in-law, and probably five co-workers from my old job. I never watermarked my photos and I shared stories about our adventures. I also shared stories about my son, sweet things he said or did, annoying behaviors he exhibited as he struggled through a rough international transition. Those stories were naively shared with the best of intentions; the idea that people are inherently good, and that no-one would probably read my blog.
Without the ability to work once we arrived in Paris, I poured myself into developing my blog. With each post, I became more and more eager to grow my readership, finding instant validation when someone would comment on a funny story I had published or when my mom would say, “I loved that post you wrote.” In addition to posting nearly every day, I attended a major blogging conference, got a Twitter account, a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and so on, and so on. As my little blog modestly grew, I met more and more amazing people. Blogging became my everything, and provided me with the ability to connect with people while living thousands of miles from the only life I had ever known.
Right around the same time that my blog post on “Instagram Trolls” was linked, I read a few articles on how people view “mommy” bloggers. I began to think more about the criticisms of sharing your life with strangers, what should be kept public versus private. What truly hit home for me wasn’t the downside of sharing my life or how it might affect MY career, but rather how it will affect my husband and son’s lives. I have less to fear about what I write because I willing put those thoughts and ideas out into the world. However, the stories that I share about my family aren’t all mine…. they belong to my family, to my husband (who is a consenting adult and can provide his opinion) and to my son.
At nearly four years old, he doesn’t have the comprehension to willingly agree to posts that I write about him.
I used to think that just because my blog wasn’t mainstream, it didn’t matter what I posted because only my family and friends would see it. That belief was extremely naive of me, and I am aware of that. I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about the direction my own blog will take in the future.
It has opened up a Pandora’s box of the ethics of blogging… raising questions that I just don’t have a solid answer for. Things like “Should bloggers earn money by showcasing their children in sponsored ads?” “Should mom bloggers share naked photos of their children?” “Do the children of bloggers have a right to privacy?” “Does it matter if your blog is small or mainstream?”
These questions and countless more have caused me to put the red light on my personal blog. I’m not sure whether I will continue my own blog the way I have in the past, take it in a new direction, or delete it.
Mom readers and contributors of World Moms Blog, I value your opinions greatly. What are your thoughts about the ethics of blogging, especially when it comes to our children?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Jacki. You can check out her experiences as an expat in Paris at her blog, HJ Underway.
Imagine living in a place where your reproductive life was controlled by the government. A place that not only controlled the number of children you were allowed to have but also the timeframe. A place that enforced stiff fines, allowed forced sterilization and even forced abortions when you were breaking the law.
Imagine living in remote, impoverished parts of rural China. This is what life is like for most women in these far off, often forgotten parts of the world, a place that accounts for millions of China’s 1.3 billion people.
China’s controversial one-child policy was implemented by the Communist regime in 1978 as a way to control China’s soaring population and help alleviate some of the related negative social, economic and environmental consequences. Born at a time before China’s dramatic ascent as the world’s number two economy, the one-child policy was enforced as a way to keep China’s exploding population at bay. (more…)
This week we honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the United States. He would have turned 83 this year. In his “I have a dream…” speech, Dr. King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
This week Eva Fannon, the Saturday Sidebar Editor, asked our World Moms,
“What dream do you have for your child(ren)?”
Check out what some of our moms want for their child(ren)…
Mannahattamamma of United Arab Emirates writes:
“I can’t say anything more eloquent than Dr. King, that’s for sure. Sadly, I think his dream–Barack Obama aside–is still a long way from being reality, which means that my dreams for my kids are the same: that they will be judged by their character and not by their skin or hair or eyes.
Arab Spring suggests that others around the world share King’s dream–and the responses to Arab Spring suggest that as in the U.S., many people are terrified at the idea of change. That’s the big dream.
The small, very local dream? That my kids would stop fighting over whose Lego pieces belong to whom. I mean, we only have about 85 gazillion pieces. Is it impossible to share? Sigh.” (more…)