Since having Bryce, I have joined a few Down syndrome groups on Facebook. Almost every day, I read a blog post or see a comment that includes the awful things doctors and nurses said to parents after receiving the Down syndrome diagnosis. It still shocks me. It's not even doctors and nurses from 20 years ago. It's still happening! Abortion seems to be the obvious choice. You couldn't possibly want to raise a child with....gasp!....extra genetic material, would you?!? It's not too late to get rid of "it". You have options. It's not too late, but you must decide quickly.
I didn't have a prenatal diagnosis, and I can only imagine how terrifying it would be. I'm sure it would lead to months of mourning, uncertainty, and research. And the research is terrifying too....I did some after Bryce was born. I don't know for sure how my doctor would have reacted to a prenatal diagnosis. But I know how she reacted when he was born....
She hugged me while I sobbed. She sat on my bed, looked in my eyes and said, "You and Mike are wonderful parents with a beautiful new baby. You're going to be just fine."
.....that's it. No scary stories of what life will be like. No talk about adoption. No talk about people on waiting lists for one of "those" kids. Just that everything would be okay.
When I sobbed about all the ultrasounds we had....how did we NOT know?? She again looked me in the eyes and said, "Would you have done anything differently? Would it have changed anything? (she knew what my answer would be) Although today is hard, I think it's good you didn't know. You didn't need one more thing to worry about during that (already stressful) pregnancy".
It seems (from the stories I read), I'm one of the lucky ones....to have a doctor like that. Women have all kinds of reasons why they believe abortion is the best or only option. While I can't imagine considering it, I understand why some women do. But I'm here to tell you, Down syndrome alone is not a reason to abort. No more than having a girl when you wanted a boy, or having a child out of wedlock is a reason to abort.
If I would have known ahead of time, and made that choice, Connor would have missed out on this:
And I would have missed out on this:
And the world would have missed out on this:
I recently attended the 8th grade graduation Mass for the last class I taught at Blessed Trinity. The auxiliary bishop did a beautiful homily, in which he addressed the graduates. What he said really resonated with me. He told them all that God made them on purpose. When a mother and father come together to make a baby, there are millions of different babies that could be made. That genetic material could combine in millions of ways....but God chose you....out of all those possibilities. Wow. There are a million ways God could have given Bryce 46 chromosomes. But he didn't. He gave him 47. Just like he gave him brown eyes and the world's most contagious smile. He wasn't a freak accident. He is our son. Just like Connor is our son.
I beg you, if you or anyone you know ever receives a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other "scary" thing.....don't make a decision based on that fear. Every life is precious, and doctors need to start realizing this. EVERY SINGLE LIFE is precious.