Sunday, March 13, 2011


"I just couldn't let my child suffer." That line is used a lot to justify terminating a pregnancy for Down syndrome. Those of us parenting a child with Down syndrome would be quick to dispel the myth of "suffering" when it comes to our kids. 

But, in thinking about the last week, I realized Eon really does suffer, at least in his mind. 

He suffers every time he gets a flick on the hand for plucking the pacifier out of his baby sister's mouth. He suffers everyday around 2:00 when he is laid down for his afternoon nap. He suffers when his mean old mom hands him a cup of milk and he wanted juice instead, or when she makes him get down when he's standing on the dining room table, or when he walks into the bathroom signing "bath" and no one will give him one. If his response is any indication, he suffers every time someone has the audacity to go against his will. 

He's enduring all this suffering, not because he has Down syndrome, but because he's two. And he's really, really good at it.

The dictionary defines "suffer" as: to undergo or feel pain or distress. While most of the above wouldn't qualify as pain, judging from his reaction, there is no small amount of distress. 

We, his parents, learned a few kids ago that causing a two-year-old some distress by not letting him get his way all the time will save him (and us) from more severe distress in the future. So, yeah, Eon's going to suffer. We expect him to grow into a mature, responsible adult, just like we do his siblings.

I wonder about those parents who would choose death over suffering for their children. Who has ever escaped pain or distress in this life? Who's to say that escaping them is desirable or the best outcome? 

Well, besides a two-year-old, of course. ;-)


  1. very good!! Maddie suffers also:) I think that the choice to or not so personal...but I cannot get through more clearly that Maddie is the BEST thing I have ever done! say suffer would be a person saying I wont because I will suffer not my child...I am selfish not my child...smiles

  2. Your poor child!

    There is a lot of suffering in each of our lives. It's a part of life.

    Nice post.

  3. Poor suffering Eon! Well actually Lucas suffers too and so does my (typical) daughter ;)

  4. Love the post...afterall all of us would have to be "eliminate" if the qualifications are that no one should have to suffer or feel distress...that's all part of life!