Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 for 21: DAY 23 :: What if?

Down syndrome is a lot more common that you would probably think.  In fact, it is the most commonly occuring genetic condition. 

Down Syndrome Fact of the Day #23:

One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, and there are more than 400,000 people with Down syndrome currently living our country. 

This statistic always makes me scratch my head a little.  It does so because it makes my thoughts travel to some quite dark and controversial places (that I cowardly typically try to avoid).  But this is one case in which I must bring out some "not-so-talked-about" facts surrounding the topic, like the following: 

Of the women who receive a definitive diagnosis that their baby has Down syndrome, some studies demonstrate that approximately 90% of those women choose abortion. 

Now, I won't get into my beliefs and values on this topic here (as my intention is NOT to raise controversy), but I will tell you that this statistic never leaves my thoughts, day in and day out. 
It makes me wonder about a lot of things. 
Specifically, it makes me wonder if the mothers of these unborn children with Down syndrome are receiving  accurate information about what their child's life would be like if they chose to continue their pregnancies. 

Were their decisions truly well-informed? 
Or, like many parents I have personally met, were they blatantly encouraged to terminate their pregnancies based on the diagnosis alone? 
Were they even offered advice from a real mother of a real child with Down syndrome? 
Were they ever given the opportunity to hear from a parent how much JOY their child would bring them, in addition to the challenges?
(Or were they just given a bunch of brochures and statistics and guided to the closest abortion clinic?)

Lastly, I wonder ... what if these parents had chosen NOT to terminate these pregnancies?
How many more individuals with Down syndrome would now be walking among us? 
It is when I wonder about this that I cannot help but think how clear it is to me that these unique and special individuals are supposed to be part of our world.

So glad you are part of our world ...

We were not given a prenatal diagnosis of Ds when I was pregnant with Jack, but when he was diagnosed at birth, my midwife wept while she discussed it with me.  I was the first one to assure her that, had they found Jack's Ds prenatally, we would have still been sitting there on that very day of May 28, 2010, looking upon the face of my beautiful newborn son together.


  1. Well said! Funny how often the "taboo" subjects are never talked about, when those are the ones that should be discussed the most. That is the same reason I discuss my infertility very openly. I don't think it is something we should avoid talking about! Good for you for bringing up a sensitive topic. I know it is not the easiest. Brave mama!!!