CHARLOTTE Streckfuss only lived for six days, but she was loved more than most newborns.
‘She was probably loved harder than other newborn babies, given her time was so short,’ said Charlotte’s mum, Teresa. ‘It was a very beautiful time for us.’
Teresa, 28, gave birth to Charlotte Mary on June 21, expecting she would only live perhaps a few hours, because of anencephaly, a rare condition that inhibits brain development.
She and her husband Mark, 28, of Creswick, near Ballarat in Victoria, knew what to expect because their son, Benedict, was born with the same condition on June 25, 2001. He lived for 24 hours.
The couple knew for six months that Charlotte would be born with the same condition.
Other babies with anencephaly are often aborted but that was never an option for Teresa and Mark.
They wanted a chance to love their daughter just as they love their other children, Cecilia, 6, Sebastian, 4, and Elijah, 17 months, and the way they had loved Benedict.
Some people think we carried Benedict and Charlotte to term because we don’t agree with abortion, because we are Catholic, or perhaps because our nephew was carried to term after a fatal diagnosis,’ Teresa said.
‘While these factors probably all played a part in our immediate refusal of the option to ‘terminate’, this is not what it’s all about.
‘It’s all about love. It’s about our baby. It’s not about some tragic, fatal medical condition – it’s about our child.
‘A baby is not a possession, an accessory to acquire. A baby is a gift, a new entity, a precious individual soul loved by God.’
Charlotte died on June 26, but not before Teresa was able to bring her home for one night and a morning.
Mark said the best word to describe their time with Charlotte was ‘bitter-sweet’.
‘We got to hold our little girl but we had to lose her. But she’s in heaven so we’ll see her there one day.’
Teresa said she and Mark would now ‘pray very hard for a healthy baby in a few years’.