My heart is pounding and my eyes are burning. Sister warned me. She told me about the article and I could tell she immediately regretted it. She told me because she was hurt by the words and the misconceptions it was spreading. Then she repeatedly warned me to refrain from looking it up. I did anyway... "Why I terminated my pregnancy after learning my baby had Down Syndrome." Just reading the title gave me a pit in my stomach. While I usually stay away from the negativity these kinds of pieces bring, they remind me why I started this blog. So I decided against my sister's council and read. It only got worse and worse. From phrases like "I'm so sorry" as a nurse told her of the diagnosis to "my child deserved better than a life of struggle and frustration due to a condition that he or she would never be able to change" sent a chill down my spine. Sorry? What are you sorry about? It's a child. A beautiful child that will bring love and laughter into your life just like a "normal" (a word used with concern in the article) child. People said sorry to us upon finding out about Welles. But not with the sympathy and sadness this article exudes; at least not that I could tell. They were sorry for our shock and our fear of the unknown. And even then, I hated hearing it. It's a child, not a damaged piece of furniture. Don't apologize for who someone is. And what better life do those with an extra chromosome deserve? Welles sure as heck isn't angry that he's the only kid his age not walking, or even crawling. He happily watches the other kids run around and plays with toys he can army crawl to. In case you haven't noticed, those with DS tend to be happier than your average Joe. Sure they have their moments just like the rest of us, but are usually much less hard on themselves than you or I. It almost makes me jealous we can't be more like that. If anything, I have been counseled to push Welles because the typical demeanor of one with DS is mellow and content; not frustrated and high strung because of their learning disabilities. Like I said earlier, I'm sure Welles will have his moments when noticing things are more of a challenge for him than perhaps his siblings. But that is hardly a reason to rid a child. Holy crap, theres about a million things that I'm more affraid to face with our other ("normal") child than that!
This one stung-- "I was ready to make the hardest decision of my life — terminate the pregnancy. And I would make it as a mother who wanted to do the best for her child." I don't even know where to start on that.
While looking into my sweet Welles' eyes, it absolutely pains my soul that some would think his life is of less worth because of some disabilities. It's rare to meet a human that exudes the happiness and love that he does. Something this earth could use a whole lot more of.
In a time where we are learning so much more of tolerance and acceptance, how is he an exception? Because he may require more attention than your average kid? Because he doesn't physically fit in to what the media finds "beautiful?" This isn't an issue of being pro-choice or not. This is an issue of equality and worth. And by writing that article, even if unintentionally, she told me that my child's life isn't worth the trouble. Spare me the excuses of the pain he'll go through. I've spent enough time around Individuals with DS (all ages) and one thing is quite clear, they're a lot happier with who they are than you and I are. The fact that an article like this was even published just shows how far behind our society really is on the ignorance meter...
Usually I like to keep things positive on here, but my friends, we have to be advocates for these beautiful souls. Wether it's your child, niece/nephew, friend, someone you've worked with, or even if you're just a reader, I hope you'll stand up and be a cheerleader for those with special needs. It's my duty to be a voice for Welles and I am proud of everything he is. If anything, after reading, then cooling off, I felt sorry for this woman. How little she knows and how significantly she is missing out.
True, I'm only a year and a half into this. There's a lot of unknown in my future and a lot of learning ahead of us. But it didn't take long for Scott and I to see that Welles is a gift, a gift not everyone is given. His life, disabilities and all, are not a handy cap to our family. He is not an inconvenience. He's a cherished piece of our lives and we wouldn't have him be any other way. We like his idea of "normal" and to us, he is just who he's supposed to be.