Up With Downs
Interesting article in the NYT today: Prenatal Test Puts Down Syndrome in Hard Focus. Totally brought back memories of my own pregnancy, and the discussions preceeding it.
As someone who didn't feel equipped to parent at all, the prospect of parenting a disabled child left me shaking with fear. Before I agreed to try getting pregnant, Al and I talked about all the possible outcomes we could think of, and how we would react to each one. I wanted to make sure we were on the same page before we made what for me was an incredible leap of faith. One of the decisions we made was that we'd terminate the pregnancy if testing revealed Downs syndrome.
Fast-forward about 8 or 9 months, to when I was roughly 3 months pregnant. I still remember the day—I think it was after the amniocentesis but before we'd gotten the results—when we were at the mall, and we passed a parent with a Downs child on the escalator. That child was so beautiful. Functional. Happy. I squeezed Al's and hand and said, "I don't care if it's Downs. I think I could parent a Downs baby." Al said, "I was thinking the same thing."
Was I relieved that the Beaner was healthy and did not have an extra chromosome? YOU BETCHA. Would I judge anyone who terminated a pregnancy because of a Downs diagnosis? NEVER. But I also don't think I'll ever forget that little girl on the escalator. Somehow I get the feeling that the world is a better place with her in it.