09.04.2010 Conjoined twins – An inspiring pro-life story

09.04.2010 Conjoined twins – An inspiring pro-life story

 Conjoined twins – An inspiring pro-life story

 April 9, 2010

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         What an inspiring story the Benhaffaf family from Cork has to share.  Twin boys Hassan and Hussein – born conjoined at the chest last December – have captivated and inspired people throughout the world.

Yesterday the baby boys underwent a successful 14 hour operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in to separate them led by Cork born paediatric surgeon Edward Kiely. The next few days are obviously critical to their survival so the Benhaffaf babies and their family should remain in our thoughts and prayers.

The story of Hassan and Hussein’s lives in the womb is as sensational as their young lives have been so far. Their mother Angie says her family’s world turned upside down when they realised the babies were conjoined. She explains how the boys interacted in the womb and how “they were holding hands and were helping each other – they always mind one another.”  Despite the struggles and doubts of her pregnancy, she says the children have been an extraordinary gift to their family.

Angie Benhaffaf wrote a poem to her babies as a tribute to them no matter what the outcome of the operation. In it she imparts in an ordinary way the struggles and joy of their lives from the moment she first knew the babies would be conjoined at just four weeks gestation.

"I loved you both from the very start, when doctors thought you shared one heart. I cried so much during that time, we did not think, that all would be fine. Your two big sisters got me through the worst; I really felt that I had been cursed. For eight months I was in such a lonely place, as the birth was something I thought I couldn't face. But then came that beautiful winter's morn, on the 2nd of December my "little fighters" were born!”

She continues “You both have given me courage and strength, What a wonderful "gift", we have been sent!…. Boys – you have filled us all with love and hope, Without you both, we would never cope….No matter how this will all end, I am forever grateful for the time we did spend.

Speaking to the media yesterday after the operation Mrs. Benhaffaf said “We are so proud of the courage and strength Hassan and Hussein have shown and they have both made the world a much better place with them in it”

The attitude of the Benhaffafs is inspiring. They are treating their time with the baby boys as a gift to be celebrated. As we reflect on the lives so far of the Benhaffaf twins we should also consider the many children who are not born because pre-natal diagnoses result in their parents choosing abortion.  The Benhaffaf’s story proves that every life no matter how short or threatened is a gift to celebrate and a life worth living. The Benhaffaf babies have certainly brought inspiration to their family and to the country. Let’s hope ‘the little fighters’ persevere.