When you are the mom of a new baby, the last thing in the world you want to think about is organ donation. After all, who thinks about the end of life at the beginning of a new one? But it's a thought mother Shelley Wealleans wishes we would all have.
Wealleans has the tragic story of being on both sides of this. First she was a mother who lost her 3-month-old child and didn't donate his organs. Then she was the mother of the baby who needed a transplant to live and couldn't get one. Losing two babies is horrendous, something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. But Wealleans and her husband are turning their sorrow into activism by trying to get others to think about organ donation even for their little babies.
It's a macabre thought I can barely have when I think about my precious 4-year-old and 5-year-old.
Just yesterday we were in a park where we stumbled upon a memorial for a 16-year-old kid who died in a motorcycle accident. My kids were full of questions, and this morning my son asked if he died, if we would make a memorial like that for him. It was all I could do not to vomit.
For parents, there is simply not a more frightening thought than losing our children. We live in fear of the idea and can't think about it. So it's no wonder so few of us make our children organ donors.
I know I am one. I know my husband is one. But our kids? No. No. No. Perish the thought.
But maybe I should think differently. As a mom I do know that if I ever did lose a child (God forbid), I would want his or her life to have meaning and to help someone else live their life. Often there isn't the time to think about organ donation in the moment, when you are losing a child. So why not think about it while there is still time? Why not make babies organ donors when they are first born?
It almost makes me sick to write. It almost makes me sick to think. But it is a reality. Even in life, we know we will all die. So why not think about that ahead of time.
Have you ever thought about baby organ donation?
Image via Gamma Man/Flickr