Art & Poetry in Medicine, Featured
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We Had a Choice

My husband and I were pregnant with a child,
Then we found out something wild.

I am a carrier of SMA,1
And this affects me in almost no way.

But if my husband was a carrier too,
Our child could have it and die by age two.

She’d slowly stop having muscle control,
Trouble to speak, breath, swallow, and even to roll.

So many things ran through our minds,
But we had a choice, we weren’t confined.

What would her quality of life be like?
Could we teach her to ride a bike?

Would she have a chance to grow up one day?
Would she be able to communicate in any way?

The extra medical bills would be hard to ignore.
Is this something we could really afford?

We found other parents with SMA kids.
Some seemed to enjoy life and all that they did.

We learned that she would need full-time care.
I or my husband would need to always be there.

Should we drop out of school and quit our job?
So much to consider when her cells are a blob.

There was no easy decision with so many thoughts.
When preparing for life, this isn’t something we’re taught.

When asked about abortion, we tried to envision.
Thankfully we never had to make a decision.

My husband was not a carrier of SMA.
Abortion was not a decision we wanted to weigh.

When thinking back on what might have been…
Would abortion been considered a sin?

Regardless of what you think, or if our beliefs align,
The decision to abort should be mine.

1 spinal muscular atrophy

Image creditPregnancy Test by Johannes Jander licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Holly Ingram, MD, MPH Holly Ingram, MD, MPH (3 Posts)

Resident Physician Contributing Author

Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Holly Ingram is currently a pediatric resident at Wake Forest SOM in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 2016, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology with minors in chemistry and anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She obtained her MPH from East Carolina University, and in 2022 graduated from Brody SOM with her MD. In her free time, Holly enjoys playing soccer, visiting waterfalls, and spending time with her daughter and husband.