Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's about wanting a baby

This is the fourth post in a series about the new tests that detect Down syndrome in the first trimester of pregnancy. It is our hope to bring awareness to concerns regarding this test, as well as bring a call to action. As always, name calling and profanity is welcome in the comment section.

Ellis Anne

Just making sure you were reading the WORDS here and not just looking at all these gorgeous photos of our kids !!

Are you ready for something completely different?

My next guest blogger is Lisa Morguess.

Lisa and I have a few things in common. We both have large families- she's due in a few months with her seventh child, I'm due this fall with my eleventh. We're both 44 years old, we are both passionate about blogging, and we are both tall brunettes.

And that may be where our similarities end...because while I am staunchly pro-life, Lisa is just as staunchly pro-choice. I'm a born again Christian, and Lisa is an atheist.

I asked Lisa to contribute to this series, because on this crucial point we agree: Down syndrome is a life worth living. 


I obviously don't share all of Lisa's views, but I think her message will resonate with so many - and if it helps saves lives, then I am a happy woman.


It's about wanting a baby
guest post by Lisa Morguess

Finn Morguess

It’s not about God, or what the Bible says . . . because not all of us believe in God or are swayed by the Bible.

It’s not about whether abortion is right or wrong . . . because, like it or not, abortion is legal, and legal or not, it’s here to stay.

It’s really not even about whether prenatal testing for genetic conditions is right or wrong . . . because once the technology is there, it can’t be undone.

It serves no constructive purpose to debate the morality of abortion or the question of when life begins.

These are issues that have been debated for years and years and will never be settled to everyone’s satisfaction.

Judging someone for the difficult choices they are faced with won’t change minds.  It only leads to resentment and further polarization on the issues that really do matter.  Do we, as parents of children with Down syndrome, really want other people to keep their babies instead of terminating their pregnancies out of guilt?  Or do we want to help them WANT to keep their babies?


If there is any question about morality and ethics in this issue of prenatal testing, it’s a question that needs to be laid squarely at the feet of the companies that utilize sleazy marketing campaigns, that influence doctors and insurance companies, and at the feet of medical professionals who attempt to influence their patients’ decisions by painting a biased, unfair picture of Down syndrome.

What really matters – what is really at the heart of all of the brouhaha surrounding the new prenatal tests – is this question:

Is life with Down syndrome a life worth living?


Yes, yes it is.

Women who undergo prenatal screenings do it as part of seeking out good prenatal care.  This means that they WANT their babies, they WANT to be pregnant, and they WANT to be mothers. 

For many women, receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome changes all that.  Images float through their minds of the stereotypes and misconceptions they’ve developed without even realizing they had developed them.  They might be told frightening things by their doctor, things like “A child with Down syndrome will never talk, may never walk or be toilet trained, will never have friends, will be sickly, and will be a drain on your family.  He or she will always be completely dependent.”  It’s not uncommon for women in this situation to be told by their doctor, “The quickest and easiest way to fix this is to make it go away.  We can schedule your termination for the end of the week.”


And suddenly, this woman who WANTED this baby, is asked to make a choice – only she very likely feels like she doesn’t really have much of a choice.

This – THIS – is what needs to change.  Because these things aren’t true.  While these predictions about people with Down syndrome may have been true several decades ago, the picture of Down syndrome has radically changed – and that’s what we want people to know.


Children with Down syndrome do learn to talk and communicate.  They do learn to walk.  And run, and jump, and swim, and ride bikes.  They do learn to use the bathroom.  They go to school and learn to read and do math and make friends.  They grow up and get jobs and fall in love.  They have opinions and feelings and beliefs and convictions.  They are valued by the people who know them and cherished by their families.

This is what Down syndrome really looks like.


A life with Down syndrome is a life worth living.


jaqy said...

VERY beautifully written and said. Absolutely agree. The prognosis they give to women on why it's important to test for DS reminds me of Nazi Germany. Maybe extreme, but really, it's a similar concept. My 3rd child is autistic and carries a myriad of health concerns. He is further behind than MANY children with DS. Would I have terminated if I had known? Never would have been a thought that even crossed my mind. God or no God; this is how my child was created inside of me, this is how he was meant to be because you don't choose genetic makeup... and this is what makes him unique, challenging and completely and utterly amazing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post! Yes, the preconceptions really need to stop, and the more society sees what they can actually do, as opposed to what they can't do, it what needs to be revealed!

Rochelle W.
Elk Grove, CA

Unknown said...

PATTI YOUR EXPECTING!!!!! SORRY HAVEN'T READ THE REST OF THE POST YET JUST CANT GET PAST...''IM EXPECTING MY 11TH!!' you really are trying to make me use profanities in the comments aren't you! SERIOUSLY did i miss that!!!!!! just cant calm down....PATTI'S PREGNANT!!!!agggghhhhh.....agggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

aggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! xxxxxxxxx

Unknown said...

OH BLUMIN gone back and read the rest and now crying! im just off out the door on an early morning run and you have me in bits! people are going to think i REALLY hate running with tears dripping off my nose and swollen eyes!

our kids are ALL magic...this life is a wonderful one for our special special babies xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Mike Sullivan said...

Thanks for the great post Lisa. We have discussed this before and I like the way you have hit the nail on the head that screening involves wanted pregnancies. Screening takes a wanted pregnancy, that then becomes conditional if Down syndrome is detected, and the choice is made on a subjective judgement as to whether the life is worthy.

Education: Exploring Online Learning said...

Patti, I REALLY like that you had Lisa guest post! I think that the fact that you two agree on this topic speaks volumes.

Great series, Patti. Great post, Lisa. And congrats to both of you on your pregnancies :)

Valerie Strohl said...


ds.mama said...

This is the best part of all... that women do want their children. By making sure that they get current information, we can help them get what they want :-) Great post!

Not a Perfect Mom said...

All of our children are amazing and worth it....

nicole said...

I mostly agree with this post. Not on the pro-choice stance or belief in God thing. However, I would add that even if a child with DS never learns to walk, talk, ride a bike, etc., their life is STILL worth living. Their value comes from the fact that they are a person, not what they can do. We should want children because of who they are, not because of what their potential is.

nicole said...

By the way:

Patti ~ the profanity comment made me laugh!

Lisa ~ Finn is edible!

Shannon said...

I often feel my opinion on not aborting a special needs child is uncredited by the secular world because I am a Christian and pro life. This is a message that needs to be spread just as much by non bible believers ass it does believers. Thank you for sharing your side

Yvonne Richmond said...

Lisa and Patti, great collaboration and thank you for all your advocacy!

Unknown said...

This post says it perfectly. Just simply perfect. Lisa, you are a talented writer.

Beth in Atlanta said...

Very well said, Lisa. And Finn is gorgeous!

Shannon said...

Their value comes from the fact that they are a person, not what they can do. Well said

Shannon said...

Wholy cow, slip of the finger. Patti I was not purposely taking you up on the profanity!

Lisa said...

A beautiful blog, and very well written. When I was told my risk factor was 1/8 all I cared about was is my baby growing ok. Hubby and I are not religious but when I looked on the ultrasound and there was a picture of this healthy formed baby how could I chose to "terminate" based on a possibility he had DS, how could I risk an amnio when he was just healthy. My choice was simple and I was attached, I waited 38 years to hold my baby...I don't care if he has DS and that was our stance all along. 5 days after he was born..he was diagnosed and sure it was a shock but his living has been the BEST thing to ever happen to me and our family....I wish the Dr's were more positive and supportive. I think that OB's should link expected DS mamas with mamas who have DS babies and we can tell the truth and how thrilling life is.

crystalkupper said...

Thank you for being a guest poster! It's so nice to be able to agree on something so important.

Stephanie said...

I can't get past the part of where you said you were pregnant!!!! Is it true? I had no idea, but am VERY excited for you....yay!!!

I finally read the post also. And loved all of the pictures too! Including my sweet little Ellis Annne!

When are you due???? Share more!

Stephanie Lynch

Becca said...

Beautiful, beautiful post, perfectly stated.

Patti said...

Shannon- you weren't supposed to take my intro seriously !


Sarah said...

this is VERY powerful!

Tommie said...

Yes, yes, yes. When I was pregnant with my second daugther, our quad screen came back showing a high risk for Down Syndrome. I refused to even discuss 'options' with my husband until our detailed ultrasound because I couldn't stand to hear the words I feared would come out of his mouth. Our ultrasound showed a lovely, perfectly growing little girl with no soft markers for Down Syndrome or any other syndrome. We opted not to have further, more invasive testing. She was born nine days overdue and only weighed 5 pounds two ounces. She did not have Down Syndrome but when she was two years old, she was dianosed with 5p- Syndrome (also known as Cri du Chat.) This would have been detected had we gone ahead with the more invasive testing. But I didn't want to know because I didn't want anyone to pressure me to do something I couldn't. I wanted that baby. She's now five years old and AMAZING. She surprises every single therapist/doctor she meets. Thank you Patti and Lisa for taking this stand. These babies are wanted, they are loved and they live amazing lives. Their lives are worth saving.

Leah said...

Wonderful yet again. Patti, you are doing a great thing here. I am so impressed with the variety of guest posting.

Melissa said...

Love this post!!!

Congrats Patti!!

Mrs. K said...

Guilty! dag nabit!! I looked at all the pictures a couple of times and was laughing and crying (happy tears) 'cause they are all so precious.

THEN, I read the post and said "hey I can cuss??" So as you see I did.

What a beautifully well written point of view Lisa. Patti, I like that your blog is not one sided, that you open it up to others to have a voice. I can see Lisa's reasoning. You both have the end result in mind but come at it from different angles.

I hope this does not mean we won't see any more pictures. Keep those precious happy faces coming!!!

Patti, I just realized this will be #20 for grandchildren!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I agree that the issue is whether Down Syndrome makes life worth living. If we want to change perspectives and change the fate of Down Syndrome, we need to find common ground. I want to paint a beautiful picture that is capable of drowning out overwhelming fear. However, I would also add that it is wrong, whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, to single out a group of people and systematically recommend their termination because they are different. We need to fight so that parents can be presented with the whole story (the struggles but also the joys of raising these children)when making a choice about whether to keep a child with Down Syndrome.

Holly Fedele said...

Love it!

It is sad to me that women like Shannon above are discredited simply because she is pro-life and Christian. Unfortunately, it is obvious that the minute pro-choice/pro-life/religion is brought up, people tend to shut down and do not want to hear anything further.

As a person that believes in a God but is not Christian and respects that man-made law says abortion is legal, I feel like Lisa's point is the best route to go. Let's make sure women with a prenatal diagnosis personally MEET our children, get updated and true information, attend a support meeting.

If we have to stiffle our religious and/or political views in order to be heard, let's do for the sake of the life worth living.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lisa for your way with words. The message that a life with Down syndrome is a life worth living needs to be spread all around the world. It is so wonderful to see the ever-growing world of moms who are sharing their stories and proclaiming that yes, my child was wanted and my child is loved. End of story. No religious views or political opinions necessary.


April Vernon said...

Beautiful thoughts...beautiful photos! Thank you, as always.

Denise Mom of 4 Amazing Kids said...

I can't tell you how jealous I am that you are pregnant. My doctors made it seem so awful that I should have my tubes tied. I wish I could go back, I'd love another baby.
So totally happy for you! Great pics and a great post!

Lizzard said...

This is an amazing series. Thank you so much for putting it together, and, as always, for being an incredible advocate!

I am pro-choice in the sense that I cannot pretend to be able to make choices for other women. That said, I truly believe that all life is so precious and beautiful, no matter how long or short it is. Our children all came to us through adoption and have many labels, but are unimaginably awesome in every single way.

I am so thankful to all you Strong Mommas who are your children's cheerleaders and willing to stand up for what you know to be true!

Anonymous said...

Thanking God for ALL these babies. I know one of them personally and I know what a blessing she is to her family. She is loved beyond measure. Thanking God for all these families who made the choice to value these babies lives. And for the families who choose to adopt special needs children who might otherwise live out their lives in institutions. God Bless You for blogging for these precious angels!

Kristen's mom said...

Yes, life with Down syndrome is definitely worth living. My daughters love Kristen so much they are trying to figure out how to get on of their own. I told them, HELLO... reeces rainbow.

cara said...

Thank you for this post Lisa!!! Finn is precious!!!! I know he must light up your lives.

I am learning so much from this series Patti, and I like how you are putting many perspectives on here. The message that our children with down syndrome are worth keeping is SO important since they are being targeted. People have no idea what they are missing without a child with down syndrome for sure!! And whether we are Christians or atheists, or whatever we believe, it is important that we all speak up for our children and spread the news that they are worth life.

I really like Nicole's comment on here. Even if these children will never read a book, ride a bike, walk, etc., they are deserving of life as God sees fit. I also am not pro-choice, and I think every baby is deserving of life.

Maggie said...

Sadly, far too many of the doctors who think they 'know' that the right thing is 'schedule termination this week' ... have never met an adult with Ds, never spoken to a parent of a child with Ds, never done more than parrot what they were taught in med school. Which might be 15, 25, or 40 years ago!

Anonymous said...

I think doctors are good people who do the best they can. They are human beings. I dislike the comparisons to Nazi Germany. Jews were persecuted for economic and political reasons. They were murdered. A ten week old fetus is not the same thing at all, regardless of the reason for termination. I would like to see that analogy die because I think it is an insult to the Jews and Armenians and Rwandans and Somalis and other peoples who have been actually targeted for genocide. Rightly or wrongly, Down Syndrome is seen by the majority as an undesirable genetic defect and people who think that may be misinformed, but they are not evil.

Jackie said...

I love these stories, but had to comment. One mom said she was told her child would either have downs or turners . . . My two sister's have turner's. Both are college educated (one is a nurse, breastfeeding consultant and the other a teacher) and are happily married. I know this is primarily about downs but just wanted to comment about my wonderful sisters and what they've been able to accomplish! These kiddo's are just beautiful and I love to see how God rewards these families that choose life and go against this medical "advise." It makes me sick that 90% of downs are aborted.

Leah said...

This was a beautiful post but I wanted to share what my sister shared when she posted this link to her fb wall:
Part of a series of posts in response to the new blood test for Down Syndrome. All of the posts have been very eye opening and emotional to read, especially considering the baby I'm carrying. I just think this one particular post is from a very interesting perspective, and I would really like it if everyone could come together and fight for the Truth: A life with Down Syndrome is a life worth living.
Thanks Patti for your well worded posts, both my sister & Mom have read & shared this post!