When Words and Pictures were Enough to Save a Life
This spring, I received a notification on my phone.
Nothing to write home about, right?
Except this notification saved a life.
According to the notification on my cell phone, my blog was receiving a ton of traffic. I was beebopping through my day while thousands of people were flooding to one specific post.
Checking my stats and following a rabbit trail, I found the source of all the clicks. Someone had shared a link to my blog on Reddit.com
My (obviously) internet-savvy self had to do some reading to even learn what the heck Reddit was. Apparently (apparently), it's a site for sharing social news and engaging in discussion. (The more you know, eh?)
But why my blog?
Through some digging, I discovered a post of desperation.
A woman (let's call her Jamie) had just come from her 19-week prenatal ultrasound. She was crushed. Her unborn child had a multitude of physical issues; Jamie's baby girl had been diagnosed in utero with VACTERL Association.
VACTERL is a sometimes fatal but very rare disorder that combines multiple physical conditions.
VACTERL has affected our family down to the core of our every decision. VACTERL is why one of my children requires a very strict diet. VACTERL is why our car dons a handicap parking permit. VACTERL is what prompted us to purchase a $300 "big-kid stroller."
VACTERL is a label my middle son Edward wears.
Thousands of Reddit readers were clicking to my blog and looking through photos of my child with VACTERL.
Jamie shared in her Reddit discussion that she was considering abortion. She just could not imagine a special needs child living a full life. She only had one week to make her decision though. The state where she lived stopped the allowance of abortions at 20 weeks.
I understood Jamie's fear and devastation. She believed she was carrying a healthy baby but was blindsided when a doctor entered the room with a label and diagnosis.
Cue Edward's adorable face.
A Reddit user on Jamie's discussion page took to google. She found images from my blog and did some reading about our little Edward. She returned to Jamie's post and shared a link stating, "This little boy was chosen despite his very grim, very difficult diagnosis. He appears to be living quite the full life."
If she only knew.
When I read Jamie's post, I knew I needed to tell our story. She did need to know.
I quickly signed up for a Reddit account and left a comment. I identified myself as the one-and-only Edward's mom. I began sharing stories of Edward's strong spirit and his hilarious personality. I painted a word picture sharing what Edward was doing in that exact moment – of course he was drawing a picture of a horse, it's what he does.
I helped sweet, scared Jamie see Edward as a person and a child with value.
I shared our story.
Sometimes I wrestle with how public I have made our family. I worry about sharing our stories and living out in front. I question if it is necessary or even healthy.
And then I am unexpectedly handed an opportunity to share our story and to make an impact.
This is why I share our story online.
Jamie chose to keep her baby. Her sweet daughter's life was preserved and she was ushered into this world just a few weeks ago.
I don't know what kind of life this sweet one will have. I don't know all the struggles her family will now face.
But I do know when we share our struggles and situations online, our stories have the possibility of spreading far and the potential of saving a valuable life.
For this reason, gospel-believing friends, this is why we ought to share our stories online.
I encourage, nay, challenge you to share your own stories online. We all have been handed platforms to show what God has done and what he continues to do. Facebook posts or Instagram photos are enough to demonstrate God's character and his passions to the broken world around us. Our words and photos are enough.
Just one blog post was enough for Jamie's daughter.