Today I was reading an article about a mother who terminated her pregnancy knowing she was pregnant with a child that had Down syndrome. Here is an exerpt that sort of struck me, followed by a few of my thoughts, of course!
An estimated 90 percent of women who learn their babies will have Down syndrome decide to get abortions, according to research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which is a division of the National Institute for Health.
I can't believe this ... it makes me so angry! When I had my 20-week sonogram and was told that they couldn't identify a nasal bone, which was an indicator that my unborn child may have a chromosomal abnormality, terminating my pregnancy was NOT a thought that ever entered my mind, even with the million tears I cried! It was about me learning of this news, adapting to it and educating myself about how I could give my child the best life she could have. About a week after my sonogram and after further testing, I was told my child was perfectly fine, that she did have a nasal bone and that she did not have a chromosomal abnormality. If only I could have a talk with that doctor now! Either way, I'm glad I didn't know and that I was able to spend the last 20 weeks of my pregnancy not worrying.
Back to the topic ... I guess it breaks down to my morals and values as the reason termination never entered my mind. For that, I thank my parents and family from the deepest crevice of my heart. It boggles my mind that 90 percent of women would terminate based on a chromosomal abnormality, something that would not make their child "perfect" in their eyes. Tell me this ... if your four year old is involved in an accident that makes him or her wheelchair bound for the rest of his or her life, are you going to give that child away because he or she is no longer "perfect". Why is it any different?!
For this reason, it is so imperative that people be educated about Down syndrome. I knew nothing about it prior to having my daughter. I think I had known of one person, and that was a kid that was in the special education room at my high school. Things are so different these days and there are so many more options for kids and adults with Down syndrome. I bet a lot of people would be surprised to learn that my "developmentally delayed" child with Down syndrome has come darn close to developing within typical guidelines thus far.
Please, spread the word. Brag about the kid you know that has Down syndrome and tell everyone how well he or she is doing. Help us educate people about what is unknown to them. By doing so, you are making my daughter's life that much better and I love you for that! :)