Friday, January 29, 2010

Passion #3

I have mulled this post over in my mind and written and rewritten it and I'm still at a loss as to how to communicate what my heart so desperately wants to say.

My third passion is to reduce the number of abortions based on Down syndrome. The current numbers stand at 90%. Ninety-percent of women, when shown by amnio or cvs to be carrying a baby with Down syndrome, choose abortion. Keeping in mind that there are many of us who, when faced with indicators of Ds, chose to forego further testing, it is still a staggering number.

I recently read someone's comment that those who choose testing are only those who would abort, anyway, however, I know that's not really accurate. I have read the stories of many, many women who swore going into the test that there was no way they would consider termination and yet, that's exactly what they did.


Fear mostly. Raw terror. Not having an actual baby to reassure them, they are terrified of the unknown. Most parents of kids with Ds that I have contact with propose that education and exposure are the answer. If we just show the world how wonderful our kids are, people will get it and the fear will go away. I'm sad to say that I don't buy that.

We are a society of convenience and ease. Our sole motivation is to make our lives easier. Easier is better in western civilization. Having a child with a "disability" is not considered easy and therefore, must be avoided.

Though not easier, our lives are better because of Eon. He is a joy and delight. I could repeat this until I was blue in the face, but most people will only take note of the extra appointments, his earlier heart surgery, and his developmental delays. They will rejoice with me that I consider myself blessed..... and be secretly glad that it's me and not them.

How can you possibly convince people that you really love having a child with Down syndrome without it sounding like you are just trying to make the best of a difficult situation?

You can't.

I so wish I could see this as a simple education problem, but I can't because it's not....its a spiritual problem. People always see what they want to see. Therefore, they will see suffering where none is, they will see hardship when none exists, and they will not see joy where it is in abundance in order to justify their behavior and pacify their hearts, so that they can do what is easy and convenient.

There is one who blinds their eyes, who has come to steal, kill, and destroy. They are deceived and no amount of education will prevent their hearts from believing the lies they so readily embrace.

It is not just the unborn that suffer from the deception. I have read the stories and my heart also aches for the women who have chosen wrongly and now must face that choice every day. They are often overcome with grief and guilt. They will never be the same.

Senseless is the only word that comes to mind.

So what do I do with this passion of mine? I still educate and advocate every chance I get. But, I also pray, fervently, for those who are making the choice and for those who have already made it.


  1. I really think there is such a huge stigma about peoople that are "mentally retarded". This is the crux of the issue in many people's mind. They can't stand to think of their child as "one of them" and so they will make excuses about a lifetime of suffering, health issues, the "not right for my family" line, etc. Really it just comes down to having a child that is different. People don't want difference, especially if that difference is percieved as a very bad thing by society. I don't know if I'm making any sense, but I agree with you that I'm not entirely sure education would make a huge difference in the numbers. It comes down to acceptance and inclusion rather, although certainly knowledge is never a bad thing.

  2. Tara,

    I have always thought that it has to do with shame and guilt. Like Stephanie said, the stigma. I remember feeling embarassed in the beginning, though I never understood why back then. Now I do. Society excludes and makes fun of people who are cognitively impaired to the point that most people are terrified of having a child "like that".

    The abortions won't stop until the perceptions about people with Ds change. That will come slowly as we continue to educate people and show off our loved ones to the world.

  3. I had never really thought much about disabilities until Claire's arrival. It just didn't affect me much, and I think that is the problem. People just don't really think about what doesn't affect them and while education can't hurt, like the others I don't think that is the only answer. There is a stigma with a mental disability, much more so, I think, than even with a physical disability. Why, I'm not sure...

  4. Excellent post! I'm not a Christian at all, but I fully share your views on this issue. My partner is pregnant and has just turned 40 ("high-risk" for Down's therefore). We haven't yet taken none of the tests, and I'd rather want her not to take them, but she's logically scared due to age factor and stuff. Anyway who are we to decide who should live and who shouldn't?. Out of our eagerness for convenience and ease, we are more afraid of the image than of the condition itself. Shame!