Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Am Pro-Choice And I Have A Child With Down Syndrome

I am pro choice. 

 
It was my choice to be a mother to the babies that grew in my womb. While I believe in God, I do not attend a church and I do not feel affiliated with any particular religious sect or group. We are blessed in the US to have freedom of religion. Some of the first Europeans that came to this continent came for that exact reason after being persecuted in their homelands for their views. With the belief that religious persecution is wrong, the United States of America incorporated the freedom of religion into the core of it's laws and freedoms.

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press;
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
 
I respect people of all faiths, or no faith at all. I feel that pushing my beliefs on other is inherently wrong, as I believe it is wrong for others to push their beliefs on me. The one thing I WILL say is that I feel that many times people make choices without having proper or complete information. All too often we hear or read an opinion on a certain subject and take that opinion or partial information as fact. 

Reassess what you "KNOW."

Over the years of your life you have spent a huge amount of time learning. You learn things in school, from your parents, from  your peers, from literature and from media outlets. You likely base your daily choices and decisions on what you "know" and what you have learned from past experiences. BUT... how often do you examine what you "know?"


If you live in the U.S., it is highly likely that when you were in 1st or 2nd grade, you learned a sweet little story about Thanksgiving. According to online sources, "In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s."

Did you know there is more to the story? A much darker part of the story? A part of the story where certain founding fathers of this country proclaimed a "Thanksgiving" holiday for ridding the land of the native savages? You know - the "native savages" who were called such because they weren't Christian and who lived in this country long before the Europeans came and took it from them. For more information CLICK HERE.

By our very nature, we Humans are nothing more than contradictions with clothing on.

I don't profess to have "The Answers,"  and looking at some of the most pivotal government and religious leaders throughout history, I don't believe they had the answers either. So I question. I question what authority says and I question what I know. No - I'm not rebelling against authority, but I don't take what I hear or am told as the absolute truth either (which makes me a really lousy church-goer for the most part). Is this bad? Um... don't you wish more people had questioned Hitler or Stalin? I question and then I determine how certain views align with my own morals and beliefs.

So, abortion. 

It is indisputable fact that abortion is a purely religious issue.

It is. Some people believe that life starts at conception, and others believe that life is not life until it is self-sufficiently viable. There are some who believe that full-term newborns do not qualify as life because they are not yet self-sufficient. As angry as that may make you, the matter is not about you, but about religion and belief.


Would I ever have an abortion? No... not as a form of birth control. But that is my belief. On the flip side, as a mother with 2 special-needs children, if I found that somehow I had become pregnant even though I had my tubes tied during my 3rd c-section (when I almost died, and my baby had to come into the world 10 weeks too soon) and that attempting to carry the pregnancy would almost certainly result in my own death... I would have to think about the 3 children who are already here and who need me. Would I wait 14 weeks - oh hell no! But the fact of the matter is that I have made the choice to take precautions against ever being faced with that situation. 

When I tried for my 1st and 2nd child, I really had to try! Pregnancy did not come easily for me. Perhaps that gave me a perspective that many other young parents don't have - if you want a baby, be thankful if you can have a baby! There are many women who can't. All in all, I estimate I spent more than 5 years of my life trying to have a baby. My 3rd pregnancy was my surprise bonus pregnancy!





If you want a "perfect" baby, you shouldn't be a parent. There is no such thing as a perfect baby. If you want a baby who you will love more than yourself and who will make you smile each and every day, there is NO reason not to have a baby with Down syndrome. All children can be expensive and all of them can be difficult at times. Of my 3 kids, our youngest (who has Down syndrome) has been the easiest so far. In fact, her older sister who is in the autism spectrum may require far more long-term help as an adult... and as yet, there is no prenatal test for autism.


 You can have a "perfectly healthy" baby only to have your child sustain a traumatic head injury in a car accident or from a fall from a bicycle, leaving that child in a vegetative state. You, yourself could suffer an unexpected stroke later today and become far less independent and more of a "burden" for the rest of your life than a person born with Down syndrome.


There are NO guarantees in life. Life isn't fair, and it's not all about you and your plans or pursuit of perfection.


Life is what happens amid all your plans. Life is the fertilizer that forces you to grow into something bigger and better than you had "planned."


In the U.S., you have many freedoms and choices.  
When it comes to prenatal testing, your choices are limited for you.

You can test for Down syndrome, but you can not test for autism. You can not test for future disabling accidents. You can not test to determine if your child will become a brain surgeon or the next Ted Bundy. You can not test for "perfect."

Question what you "know!"
There appears to be a widespread misconception that Down syndrome is a "severe disability." It is not. Not by a long shot! Down syndrome only causes mild to moderate delays. Most children with Down syndrome attend regular school and some go on to college. Many have full-time jobs and live independently as adults and some get married.


Unfortunately many of those in the medical field and society at large often make Down syndrome out to be something much worse than it is.


When my routine screening came back suggesting an increased likelihood that my third child would have Down syndrome, I turned down invasive tests. 

Why? 

Because I never expected perfection.


And what I got...


Is Pure Fabulousness!!




For more updated information on the reality of raising a child with Down syndrome, click HERE.




3 comments:

  1. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love reading your posts, I really enjoy your thoughtful insight. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved this post. Two more very enthusiastic thumbs up!

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