Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I was born to do this

What I'm about to share is something I posted on Instagram just a few short minutes ago. Admittedly, I texted my husband and a few close friends with the words "the day I blew up my IG account.


I was shaking a little as I hit "post" when my daughter Abigail walked in the room... "Why are you shaking ??" she asked with a worried look in her eyes.



The truth is, I do not like confrontation. Ask my friends. I am the last person on the planet to look someone squarely in the eye and say "this is not okay." If Sam has been known by some of our family members as "Confrontational Conrad", I should probably be called "Get Along Gertrude." I don't do controversy well.



However......



Lily's t-shirt inspired me today.



So here we go. 





Someone directed me to an article on Yahoo the other day entitled "Why I Terminated My Pregnancy After Learning My Baby Had Down Syndrome." The article was filled with all kinds of matter-of-fact justifications for why someone chose to make the "difficult decision" to end her child's life.


If someone wants to explain that they are not comfortable with raising a child with challenges because to do so would be a burden to THEM, that's their choice. I don't agree with it and I will never agree with it, but it is their choice.


However – don't try to tell me that you were doing the "best thing for your child" by terminating their life. And don't try to justify your actions by saying that there is such a broad scope of functionality when it comes to people with Down syndrome – that not knowing where your unborn child would fall on that scope means your decision to end their life is reasonable. Or selfless. Let's be real.


"Typical" people have various levels of functionality. I know people with the "right amount of chromosomes" who struggle every day of their lives. So which one of them is not worthy of life? Which one of them should have been terminated ? Because after all, we don't want to burden them with such a heavy thing as life.


If I sound passionate – I am.


 Because I live every day with a little girl who is anything but a burden. Every single day I bear witness to the fact that different does not automatically mean difficult. And the longer we let others boldly proclaim that an unborn baby with Down syndrome was justifiably terminated, the longer my little girl faces a world that is hostile at worst and ignorant at best.


Any one of us at any point in our lives could become a burden to others. We have no guarantees. At what point do we stop saying that life is only valuable when it is not a (perceived) burden? When do we stop playing God and stop making ourselves the sole arbitrators of who is worthy of life and who is not?


I can't sit quietly by and listen to or read that message - that a baby with special needs is better off dead - and not lift my voice in protest. If that offends some, so be it.


Come look into my little girl's eyes and tell me she isn't worthy of life. 

27 comments:

Faith Kopp said...

I pray God's mercy on those selfish people who hide behind their excuses is a million times better than what we think it is. To think of the joy and love they are cutting themselves from is ever so sad.

PS Hope your bday present arrives on time. xoxoxoxoxo

Heidi D said...

I am in my 40's now but had the technology been around when Mum was pregnant with me I'm sure doctors would have advised her to terminate had they detected my heart problems before I was born. As it was my serious heart problems were a complete surprise to everyone. Doctors said it was inoperable & told mum & dad to take me home & wait, they would probably only have me 6 months. They were right about it being inoperable but they underestimated the strength of that baby & the fact that our Heavenly Father has a plan & purpose for us all. I am still here 46 years later, I have been married for 23 years & a foster mum for 19 years. My health is not as great as I get older but my life is so worth living & I have had a pretty great life so far & intend to keep plodding along for as long as my Heavenly Father thinks I should be here. I completely agree with your thoughts.

Bethany Eicher said...

Amen and Amen! God bless you for speaking the truth! I couldn't agree more.

noelle02 said...

I am with you 1000%. Your daughter is a blessing, not a mistake. I grimace when I hear that nonsense and I have three typical kids. The perception is wrong.

Jenna said...

Amen!

Meghan said...

I am a speech-language pathology student in Lincoln, NE, and came across your blog through a series of other Down Syndrome blogs. This semester, I have a 4-year old with DS on my caseload and she has me completely enamored. She is so stubborn, sassy, funny, and clever. She's the best and worst part of my week, because A) I never know what to expect, and B) she pushes me more and more to become a better SLP.
I so appreciate reading this post. Thank you for your beautiful witness to the person that your daughter is.

In a Special Ed undergrad course a few years ago, we talked about Down Syndrome. A student offered up the statistic that 90% of "diagnosed" babies with DS are terminated. Our teacher's jaw dropped. "90%?" she said. "Students.... this is unacceptable. We need to be the people showing these parents that their children have a future and so many resources and possibilities available to them. This is not okay." I was so grateful to hear what she had to say about this... Because it is truly tragic. Thank you for this blog post and for further inspiring me in my work!

Tara said...

Indeed! Couldn't have said it better!

The Price Family said...

Oh, Lord! That article you mentioned was heartbreaking! I don't understand how a mother could do that!?!

Stephanie said...

I couldnt agree more. My husband and I are adopting a baby with Down Syndrome. So I would love to tell whoever posted the article that just because they couldnt handle raising the child didnt mean He or She wouldnt have been a blessing to another family. Breaks my heart to know babies are being aborted because of poor education and unwillingness to be selfless, to be a mother.

Delilah Medina said...

Amen! My husband and I have spoke with someone that did just that, because they didnt want the "burden". Us knowing this couple very well it didn't go over good as she told us, "SELFISH".,,, Was the only word my husband repeatedly said. Then on the other side we knew another way younger couple by about 20 years that gave their baby the life that God gave her... Heart operations and the extra chromosome they love and cherish this baby girl. What is going threw peoples minds when they think they can make desicions like this? They will have to account for it one day. Thank you Patty for everything!

Celebrating Phoenix said...

I agree with you too. The justifications drive me crazy, as do the implications of the justifications. That it is better for your child to be DEAD than to live a life with DS. Phoenix is a happy child who brings much joy to our family and her friends. Her life is worthwhile. She is better off alive and we are better off with her alive as well. I understand not wanting a child with DS. I truly truly do.

Raelyn said...

Patti....
Very good. Very, very, very good. That is all I have to write!! ;-D
Love you later, Raelyn
PS. I have not been reading/commenting on people's Blogs lately, as I'm busy. I guess the Lord really wanted me to read this post!! Well done!! ;)

Kristy Sayer @ Southern In Law said...

Patti, I love your honestly and I LOVE your spirit. When God created you I know He paused to stop and think just a little bit longer when it came to putting together your heart. Your heart is so large and so full and so giving and I know that it aches for all of those babies who don't get the chance your Lily has.

Everything you've said is the honest truth - and the way you embrace life and your own kind of normal is such an inspiration to anyone who hears your story.

Sending lots of love and a million and one hugs your way.

melissamaren said...

I can't even read articles like that. So, so infuriating. The level of ignorance makes me insane, compounded by the thought on what they are missing out on... because of their ignorance.

Csnee317 said...

Amen! It is sickening to think of the rate of abortion when parents are given a pre-natal diagnosis of Down's Syndrome. I've read anywhere from 80-90% end up aborting their child. This is outrageous! God bless you and your family and thank you for standing up for what is right.

Deborah said...

Yes.

CMSavage6 said...

The article made me cry. And remember the doctor who told me many of the doom and gloom things. And the wonderful nurse who reported the doctor for bad information. All because she had a older sister with Ds and was thriving. She even said, the information the doctor just gave you is 30 years old. Ignore her and go home and snuggle with your baby. That's all she needs. Its hard for me to believe that in 2015 there is still so much misinformation. All kids are tough in their own ways. And there is no "perfect baby". I feel sad for her for what she's going to miss out on. And truly sad for her husband who seems like he was all for keeping the baby. I pray this didn't destroy their marriage.

Crystal Kupper said...

The attitudes are often the same or worse in England. Two of my neighbors are twin 14-year-old girls with DS. One of their older sister's "friends" told her that her sisters shouldn't be allowed to be on the NHS (England's healthcare system) because neither of them "contribute to society."

Beckey said...

Thank you for having the courage to stand up and say this. As an adoptive mom of 2 kids with Ds seeing these articles that try to cloak a selfish decision as compassion just boggles my mind.

Sandra Hatchard said...

I myself feel any child is a blessing. However you can't judge people who have not got the insight to agree. Children are a product of their environment, these children grow into adults. Adults that may not have a supportive husband and or family, adults that don't undersrand the miracle of life. Instead of calling these people names (selfish) be an example of something that they might not fully understand. Be an example of unconditional love. I feel if you peeled back the layers, these women are mourning the loss of a child, some might not even realise yet. X

Patti said...

I'm raising 11 children and I do believe I have unconditional love for them. I love them more than anyone else in the world. However if I feel their actions are not demonstrating selfless love I will tell them in a heartbeat. If I feel they are doing something that is wrong I will tell them in a heartbeat. I don't feel that it is "judging" to state my belief that a baby with Down syndrome is worthy of life. If individuals who have abortions feel it their right to share with the world that terminating their child's life was justifiable, then individuals who disagree should have the same right to state their opinion as well- without being labeled "judgmental".

Sandra Hatchard said...

I think you have taken what I have written the wrong way. Firstly I didn't say you don't love your children unconditionally you obviously do. I am not sure how that was misconstrued. Secondly I'm not saying you don't have the right to express your opinion. I'm not sure how that was misconstrued. Thirdly I was actually referring to the comments. And I am pretty sure at the beginning of the comment I agreed with you. I think everyone is entitled to an opinion without judgement. Everyone.

Patti said...

You are so right . Sadly what is being missed here is that one person most definitely was judged - which by definition is passing sentence on someone. The victim here is not you or me or even the unnamed woman in the article. The victim was an unborn baby who was judged and deemed unfit for life. As well as a teenage boy with down syndrome sitting in a restaurant innocently eating pizza with his parents. And while only one of those suffered from TRUE judgment – a sentence to death - the other will continue to live in a world filled with moral superiority by people who believe they have the right to choose who is fit to live and who isn't. That is as long as people who know better sit by and say nothing, in the name of "unconditional love." The real victim here did not have their feelings hurt by words or (perceived) name calling . No, the real victim suffered a real judgement, which was death.

cara said...

I can't believe I am just now seeing this post! I saw that article through FB, and it broke my heart!! Thank you for always being a voice for the voiceless Patti. Wow, your comment above couldn't be more true: "Sadly what is being missed here is that one person most definitely was judged - which by definition is passing sentence on someone." Those words just hit me hard. So often I feel myself feeling sorry for the woman that got the abortion and is going through the emotions of that. And of course they can have redemption if they would turn to our Lord and receive His Amazing Mercy and Forgiveness. There is hope that none of us deserve. But how often the one that was truly judged gets lost and forgotten in the whole "judgmental card" that gets pulled and trying to understand what the girl must have been going through. The facts are that 90% of these precious children with DS are never even given a chance for life. And many of them are tortured like garbage in late term abortions. I can't even imagine. I just went in for a very thorough ultrasound for this baby I am carrying now because my midwife wanted a more accurate due date. They asked me extensive questions about my previous pregnancies. I was able to share with the technician what a gift our Benji is with DS. As soon as the doctor walked in, he immediately and sort of coldly said, "Are you keeping this baby no matter what?" Here I had just been looking at this sweet baby on the ultrasound with his technician 27 weeks into this pregnancy. And he is prepared to give me the information I need to murder this child. It just took my breath away. We need more positive information out there! Our children are being tortured because people are buying the lies. Sure, there are challenges with Benji. But on the other hand, he is like my easiest child. I have different challenges with all of them. Thank you for posting Patti!! xoxo

Angel The Alien said...

I hate the idea of anyone terminating a pregnancy because they found out their child will have Down syndrome, or any special need for that matter. Nobody is guaranteed a "perfect" baby... and actually, nobody EVER gets a perfect child! And there are a lot of things that can effect a child that can't be detected in the uterus. Depression, for example, or addiction, or just growing up to be an unkind person who is mean to animals. You can't decide, by knowing that an unborn baby has a special need, what their quality of life will be! All you can do with any baby is promise to do the best you can to give him the best life possible for him or her, even if that life doesn't look exactly like the life you imagined your child would have.

Patti said...

Amen and well said. Xoxo

Tammie said...

Patti,
I have been sick for a few weeks and I all the sudden decided to read your blog and this is the post I came up on. Wow!!! My daughter has a little boy who she had thru IVF and he is just a PURE MIRACLE as every baby is and people that are so shallow minded and think the way so do just irritates me beyond words. If you aren't willing to take what God is willing to give PREVENT it from ever having to worry. I love your blog and Thanks for standing up formyourself and For Lily and all others that need your voice.