I recently came across a CD of documents from my Freshman year of college while looking for some images from my Architecture Studio courses. I was looking through the various files on the CD and came across a file called "Prematurity Research Paper." I was rather shocked. I would have never remembered writing this paper if I hadn't stumbled upon it, but as I read the paper it all sort of came back to me. It was written in my second semester of my Freshman year as the final paper for a class called Science and Technology Studies. The course reviewed how science and technology impacted our lives and my particular professor focused her research on women's studies. I don't recall why I chose to write about prematurity, but now I cant help than think it was a bit of foreshadowing.
I am completely blown away that at the age of 19 I wrote a 15 page research paper to "assess the positive and negative affects of medical technologies on premature babies, their families, our society, and medicine." I am not only shocked by the shear amount of information about prematurity in the paper but by the complex world of medical ethics and societal impact that I evaluated. 10 years later I had to live that complex world as I was faced with an impending birth at the limits of viability.
As I read through the paper my nervousness increased with each paragraph. I did not recall what I wrote and I was worried that I would find my own words hurtful or insensitive now that I was living through something that I once contemplated from a technical, economic and ethical standpoint. I came close to being offended by what I wrote as I skimmed statements like "overly aggressive treatment," but was relieved when I got to the first line of my closing paragraph:
"Social attitudes towards the impending disabilities of the premature infant are even more limiting than the actual physical impairments. People with disabilities themselves testify that their disability doesn’t often preclude them from enjoying a good quality life."
I wish I had read this during those horrible days of "pre-viable" bedrest. I think my 29 year old self would have found quite a bit of comfort in my 19 year old words when we were contemplating all of the potential complications of prematurity.