Proud Husband Shares Touching Birth Photo of Wife Who Was Diagnosed with Cancer at 7 Months Pregnant
The camera is a powerful tool. In the right hands, it can create trends, prompt discussions, and excite crowds into action. It can capture a moment in a way words never could, like the photo of a mother in a moment that is both sad and joyful.
Ben Hanan is an old hand behind the camera lens. He has developed the art of storytelling with several emotion-provoking films under his belt. One of his short films, The Cost of Freedom, can bring you to tears and fill you with hope at the same time. It tells the story of a father saying goodbye to his children as he leaves for war overseas.
It comes as no surprise that Hanan would share his own story. It all started a few months before their third wedding anniversary when Hanan, 27, and his wife Sarah, 29, decided they were ready to have their first child.
It looked like everything was going just right. They had just bought a beautiful duplex just outside of Minneapolis, and the timing felt right for the next chapter in their marriage. Then, in May 2018, they got the news they had been waiting for: Sarah was pregnant. 
Keeping the faith and pulling through
Seven months after getting the good news, it seemed their good fortune had run out. Sarah was diagnosed with an aggressive form of stage 2A breast cancer. The first time she had felt a lump in her breast, she had assumed it was just a result of pregnancy, a normal bodily adjustment like swollen feet or achy joints.
However, they learned soon enough that wasn’t the case. “Instantly you start thinking, what does this mean for our future? Does this mean we’re going to have to choose between her or the baby?” says Hanan.
“That’s the first thought: Well, are we going to be able to keep this baby? Are we going to be able to keep [Sarah]? Are we going to have to make that choice and say, no we want to keep this baby and let [Sarah] have a lesser chance of survival?” 
The story went viral after he shared a photo of Sarah and their newborn baby on Reddit with the caption: ‘My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer at 7 months pregnant, started chemo 7 weeks ago and gave birth to a healthy baby boy early this morning! She is more beautiful than ever.’
“It sounds like a cliché, but there’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for that,” says Hanan. “You think it’s something that would never happen to you. It’s just something that happens to people in general. But it doesn’t work that way.”
Many people commented on the strength they had shown throughout the pregnancy, praying that they pulled through okay. One user said: ‘My wife was diagnosed with cancer only 1 month after she gave birth to our first (and only) baby. What should be the happiest time in your life becomes something so terrifying.
‘Her treatment was successful, and we’re now 3 years of clear follow ups. It feels like it was all just a bad dream now. I want you to know you guys can do this, as hard as it is. I really wish you all the best.’ 
The dangers of breast cancer
Pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC) is defined as breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, breast cancer is the second most common malignancy affecting pregnancy. About 1 in every 3,000 women get PABC during pregnancy. 
Although treatments vary depending on the type and severity of breast cancer, researchers are still unsure of the long-term dangers of performing chemo on pregnant women. This was the decision Sarah and Ben had to make: Start chemo right away and improve Sarah’s chances of survival, or wait until the baby was born so the baby’s health wouldn’t be at risk.
“We debated a lot about starting chemo before the baby was born,” says Hanan. “Out of all of the doctors we talked to, and we talked to quite a few, none of them had any serious concerns that it would affect the baby, so we just kind of had to choose to trust.” 
They decided that Sarah should undergo two rounds of chemo before her due date. Despite all that had happened, the couple welcomed Noah Benjamin Hanan into the world on January 14, just after six in the morning without any complications.
“It’s just surreal,” says Hanan. “Everyone always says it’s indescribable, but it really is magical to see this new person appear in front of you. It’s pretty amazing that my wife has the opportunity to raise a person who can hopefully see life they way we do after they go through hard things.”
Unfortunately, the journey isn’t over for the young couple as Sarah’s battle with cancer isn’t over yet. Regardless of what happens next, Hanan is a storyteller who knows the importance of sharing life experiences to help and inspire others.
- “I was diagnosed with cancer at seven months pregnant,” BBC. March 2019.
- “This Man Shared the Sweetest Birth Photo of His Wife, Who Was Diagnosed With Cancer at 7 Months Pregnant,” MSN. January 2019.
- “My wife was diagnosed with brest cancer at 7 mo pregant, started chemo 7 weeks ago and gave birth to a healthy baby boy early this morning! She is more beautiful than ever,” Reddit.
- “Pregnancy-Associated Breast Cancer,” NCBI. 2012.
- “This Man Shared the Sweetest Birth Photo of His Wife, Who Was Diagnosed With Cancer at 7 Months Pregnant,” Health. January 2019.