Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Down's Syndrome: it's really not that bad!!

As most of you know by now, our middle son Thomas has Down's Syndrome.
This is one of God's most wonderful gifts to us, and the more we discover who he is, the more he amazes us. We would not be without him, and have never resented God for giving us a child with disabilities, because our lives have been enriched and improved by him.
When we found out Tom had DS (about 2 months after his birth), we were temporarily 'floored'. I cannot deny the shock and grief we felt, and the first 48 hours after the diagnosis were very dark. But very quickly, we knew we had no choice but to embrace this as God's will, and accept that Thomas was a child 'with a difference'!

Today, after 4 1/2 years of having Tom in our lives, I am astonished, sad, and oh so angry, by the number of pregnancies terminated after a diagnosis of (potential or confirmed) Down's Syndrome ...!!

Read this:
Today, Down syndrome is considered grounds for abortion in an increasing number of countries. The number of children born with Down syndrome is decreasing due to the large number of abortions following an early diagnosis of Down syndrome during pregnancy. In a hearing before the German Parliament, doctors stated that 90% of all fetuses prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. This number is consistent with the official statistics, wherein 1500 children with Down Syndrome should, statistically, have been born per year (at a prevalence rate of 1:600), but only 63 per annum were listed in the 1995 birth register.

If only people knew more about what it is like to have a child with this condition!
It has been a significantly life-enhancing experience for me, and I would gladly have another child like him any day.

Last week I came across three blogs whose authors are Mums of little ones with DS, and at Raising Joey, I came across this: "Connie Hutzel writes about her feelings towards the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists new recommendations and being a mother to a son who has Down syndrome. Disabilities mean little in living full life by Connie Hutzel".

The article makes for a very interesting and powerful read... and says a lot of what I feel as Thomas' Mum. Do take some time to have a look.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. I did not realize that so many people were aborting their babies because of Downs. Shocking and heartbreaking.

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  2. thanks rachel, that is a powerfully encouraging story - you and mark are awesome parents :)

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  3. I could not agree with you more! And, you know, I would not change Elliot's diagnosis even if I could. We too are blessed to be touched with such splendor!

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  4. Rachel, thank you so much for sharing this, and for telling of your wonderful little guy. Yes, people with disabbilities have so much to give,so much to show us all.

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  5. Once again your blog is humbling and uplifting. I too am sickened by abortion - we refused all the early screening tests offered us earlier this pregnancy as I do not consider my baby a disposable item. Hopefully we can meet up soon and we can get to meet Thomas again x

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  6. Do you read Barbara Curtis' "Mommy Life"
    www.mommylife.net
    She had a boy with Down's, then ended up adopting 2 other boys with Down's. (I think she has 12 children?
    Anyway, she writes a lot about Down's children.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. I couldn't agree more.

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  7. I love Thomas Like a little brother as you no. I would never want to chang him for the world and I feel bless to have the oppunity to look after a child with downs I probly wouldnt have know any thing about it otherwise! I was absoutly shocked when I read the bit about abortions I fell that is unfair and cruel if only people knew what that downs syndrons is not bad at all!
    love Clair

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  8. My wife suffered several mis-carriages (prior to our beautiful son being born). During the early stages of the final pregnacy, we were offered the usual tests etc and were told there would be some risks involved.

    We both instinctively knew that whetever happened we would love our child without reservation so decided not to have any tests as the outcome was irrelevant, why take any added risks?

    Our son was born without problems and is a healthy 4 year old boy but I would love him no less if this was not the case.

    Abortion is such an emmotive subject and my views on it are in a state of flux (along with many others) as I slowly search for a spiritual framework - I am studying Buddhism.

    I believe in fundamental personal freedom but I also believe in mindfullness and the removal of suffering. Abortions happen for many reasons and I struggle to be able to view it in a black/white yes/no type argument. I FEEL that a woman should decide but I am also desperately saddened by the throw-away society we live in where career or other circumstances can allow us to make such awesome decisions.

    Sorry - I am rambling, this is a deeply important subject to me and I could talk about it all day!

    One final thing, it does take courage to unreservedly love a child with dissabilities, you have it in spades, not everyone does..

    Thanks for a geat thought provoking post.

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