Lessons on Life From a Girl Who Shouldn’t Have One

That I’m going to see my brother get married. That I’ve seen my godson grow up–because there was a time when I thought I wouldn’t.

Standing in the Pacific Ocean.

Learning to knit.

Watching little kids smear Oreo crumbs on their faces.



Snuggling in bed.

Reading books.

Tickling babies.

Reading Robin Hood to enraptured small children and doing all the voices.

Christmas shopping.

Watching hockey games, and yelling at my team when they suck.

Learning to draw.

Eating a Duck Donut.

Eating anything, at all.

The couch I’m sitting on.

Godless on Netflix.

The Outlander series.

The Wizard of Oz.

Elizabeth Bennet.

Pretty dresses.

My sister’s cat.

My siblings.

Fish and chips.

All of those things–all of those beautiful things–do not exist without the list of ugly things.

There is no life without suffering. There is no life without pain.

And yet, people try to limit it by killing people like me. By eliminating people with CF, or Down Syndrome, or by saying that assisted suicide, euthanasia, and abortion is the compassionate choice. That it’s better to be dead than alive with a hard life. That it’s better to not exist than to exist with pain.

I will never believe that. And I will never stop fighting for my right to exist, for my right to be here and to live the life that God has given me to live. And I will fight for all the other people like me, who are told that we shouldn’t be here, that our lives are worthless because they are painful, because they make other people’s lives hard, because we suffer.

Suffering has made me better. It has made me stronger. Without it, I would’ve been a pale imitation of myself.

My parents didn’t kill me, obviously. My parents never went to court and said that my birth was “wrongful”. They never made me feel like I was a drain on them, even though at times I’ve felt that way. They’ve always told me that I am worth it.

We are all worth it. 

If you think that living with pain means life isn’t worth living, then what are you doing here?

“Life is pain, princess,” said Dread Pirate Roberts. He was right.

But there is also so much beauty in it.

The very chance to exist–to be brought into existence–the chance to have this life? This is everything.

And if you don’t understand that, I pity you.


This article originally appeared at EmilyMDeArdo.com.

Emily DeArdo
Emily DeArdo
Emily is a 35 year old Ohio native who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) when she was 11 years old. On July 11, 2005, she was the first person to receive a double-lung transplant at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH. She graduated from Capital University in 2004 with a BA in political science and English literature. For 10 years she worked for the state senate, but in 2015 she turned her attention to full-time writing. Her first ebook, Catholic 101, was published in November 2017. Find her blogging at EmilymDeArdo.com.

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