ANASTASIA and Greg Hookway cannot imagine life without their eight-month-old daughter Poppy, yet there was a time before she was born when they were confronted with having to make that choice.
A morphology scan when Mrs Hookway was 20 weeks pregnant led to the crushing medical opinion that Poppy would be mentally impaired, could have Down Syndrome and be a risk to her mother’s health if carried to full term.
The advice was termination, which went against the Hookways’ Catholic faith.
“For us, there was never an option, never,” Mrs Hookway said.
The Hookways defied the medical opinion and made their choice to allow Poppy to live.
“We would have carried our child to term regardless, and we would have loved her regardless,” Mrs Hookway said.
Poppy was born on January 14 this year with no ill effects on her mother’s health, no mental impairment or Down Syndrome.
But the lower part of her right arm had failed to form, which Mrs Hookway describes as “limb difference”.
The Hookways do not want to become embroiled in the termination debate.
But they are prepared to challenge the notion of blindly accepting medical opinion.
“To us our daughter is perfect,” Mrs Hookway said.
“What these medical experts failed to recognise was the value and dignity of her life,” Mr Hookway told another publication recently.
“It was as though our baby’s life had no value to them, that she was only the sum of her deficient parts.”
The Hookways cannot imagine life without Poppy.
“I think the main thing she has brought into our lives is joy,” Mrs Hookway said.
The proud mum describes Poppy as a “very happy, bubbly little girl”.
“She likes to smile at strangers, and she’s always happy,” she said.
With Poppy now firmly in their care and the doctors’ worst fears now in the past, the Hookways are focusing on educating people about the positives of limb difference.
“People do stop and stare, but that is a natural thing to do, you don’t see a lot of children missing limbs,” Mrs Hookway said.
“Limb difference is not something to be sad about.
“There is so much more to our little girl than a missing arm.
“Poppy will be able to do everything that any other child can do, she will just have to do it differently.”
One of the first challenges for Poppy was to hold her own bottle, which she managed at four months.
“That was one thing we were worried she could not do,” Mrs Hookway said.
“These kids are so adaptive, they do it their own way.”
Read more about Poppy at the Facebook page Hi-5 for Poppy.