Peng Weiping says she wasn’t thinking when she jumped into a freezing lake to rescue 2-year-old Shen Mengya. It is that lack of reason that has many conflicted about whether Peng acted as a hero or an irresponsible mother.
“I’m scared of the water, as I nearly drowned once when I was little,” said Peng. “But it was so cold in the water that I feared Shen Mengya could die. Her face was pale and her lips turned blue with cold when I found her in the water, and she had little vital signs of life.”
So, without thinking of the consequences to herself or the twins she was carrying, Peng says, “I took off my shoes, closed my eyes and jumped in.”
She says that she didn’t even have an opportunity to call for help.
“There were no other adults around me, only kids,” she said.
According to Shen Mengya’s grandfather, all of the adults in the village were busy harvesting wheat in the fields, so only children and Peng were present at the time.
While many hail Peng as a hero, others aren’t so certain. Women with twins already need to be more careful because of the higher risks to both mother and babies. Add in the fact that she couldn’t swim and the water was freezing cold, and it’s no wonder why some are a little concerned about the decision Peng made.
“A six-and-a-half-month pregnant women like Peng should take extra care even when walking, let alone jumping into the cold water to save a person,” said Wang Weiling, a gynecologist from Lingbi County People’s Hospital. “It was very lucky that the babies are stable.”
Unfortunately, Peng and her babies aren’t quite out of the woods yet. Weiling says there may still be some long-term complications that can’t be seen yet: complications “That could be life-threatening for both mother and babies.”
Wu Ning, a mother-to-be in Shanghai says that she recognizes Peng’s selfless act, but isn’t quite so certain that she made the right choice.
“Peng was risking not only her life, but also that of her babies,” said Wu Ning. “Even though what she did is selfless, I wouldn’t recommend it – just imagine how she would have felt if she had lost the babies. People have to think rationally about their own safety.”
A gynecologist at Shanghai East International Medical Center says she admires Peng’s efforts, but also disagrees with her decision based on medical reasons.
“Carrying twins represents a higher risk than just one baby, so what she did increased the possibility of premature birth or miscarriage,” she said. “
Sociologists, however, have praised her efforts.
“It shows the brighter side of humanity,” said Wang Jufen, a professor of women’s studies at Fudan University. “Whether the decision was bold, or right, or threatened her, then I think Peng didn’t have time to think about what’s the rational thing to do – she followed her instinct.”
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