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A Mother's Courage: Embracing the Gift of a Different Kind of Normal

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Mother Refuses Pressure From Doctors to Have Abortion of Baby Born With No Arms

In a world that often pressures parents to conform to societal norms, Mariaan Strauss stood unwavering in her decision to embrace her son, Hendre, despite the challenges he would face. Refusing to succumb to the pressure from doctors, she proudly proclaims, "It's okay to have a child who's different from society's idea of 'normal.' We have received the greatest gift, and I wish they could hear me when I tell them."

Photo by: Life News

Photo by: Life News


By Catholic Online
5/30/2023 (1 year ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: mother, love, abortion, baby, pro-life, miracle

Mariaan Strauss, a resilient 25-year-old from South Africa, and her loving husband, Hendrik, 26, were confronted with a difficult choice when doctors urged them to consider aborting their unborn son. A routine scan at 23 weeks revealed that Hendre wasn't developing arms - a revelation that shook their world.

The words of the doctor rang in their ears, "You're selfish if you don't abort. You must think of the child. He will never be able to have a normal quality of life." Mariaan and Hendrik grappled with fear and uncertainty as they contemplated the challenges that lay ahead if they chose to proceed with the pregnancy.

Mariaan recalls, "There was self-blame and pain. And the fear of the unknown and an uncertain future. Society can be cruel, and I wondered, would our child ever be accepted? Would he face mockery and bullying?" The weight of their decision was immense, but Mariaan's unwavering love for her unborn child led her to insist on his birth.

Today, Hendre is eleven months old, a testament to Mariaan and Hendrik's unwavering love and commitment. They now see him as "the greatest gift we could have received." Despite his physical limitations, Hendre demonstrates remarkable resilience. He can roll on his own and uses his legs to push himself forward, defying the expectations set by his early diagnosis.

Hendrik, his proud father, shares, "When he wakes up, he lies there and smiles at us... And to think I wanted to throw it away because I was scared and insecure." The couple's initial fears and doubts have been replaced by an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude for their son's presence in their lives.

As news of Hendré's story spread, it has ignited a conversation about the value of life and the limitless possibilities that love harbors within every human heart. A spokesperson from SPUC (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) emphasized, "Hendre's story and his parents' delight remind us that quality of life is not to be measured by limitation but by the limitless possibilities of love harbored in every human heart."

The spokesperson continued, "The smile a baby gives to a parent is worth every challenge, every sleepless night - it is that joyful recognition that they are happy to be alive and protected. Not only is this worth fighting for, but it is also life itself."

Mariaan Strauss and her husband, Hendrik, serve as a shining example of courage, resilience, and unconditional love. Their journey reaffirms the belief that every child, regardless of their differences, is a gift worth embracing. In a world that often focuses on limitations, they remind us to see the boundless potential and unyielding beauty in every human life.

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