From the [Toronto] Star:
Renate Lindeman, president of the Nova Scotia Down Syndrome Society, is the mother of two daughters with Down syndrome. She chose not to have an amniocentesis for her first pregnancy, but did so for the second even though she and her husband had decided to carry the pregnancy to term regardless of the test findings.
The result, she writes, was that the remainder of her second pregnancy was unpleasant and stressful, as she dealt with the reactions of those around her. An excerpt:
On top of the usual hormonal mood swings, I was now dealing with feelings of guilt. Society doesn’t always embrace people with special needs. Was it fair to bring my baby into this society with the challenges associated with Down syndrome?
With a kicking baby growing inside of me, I was asked: “Did you consider abortion?” … “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
Prospective parents who dream of having a perfect child suddenly face agonizing psychological, social and ethical dilemmas for which there seems to be no “right choice.” With only a physician’s view of a prenatal diagnosed condition as guidance, is it surprising that more than 90 per cent of parents choose termination?
The only advice I can give parents is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever you decide, make sure you know the true facts about your baby’s diagnosed condition so you can make a well-informed decision.
Know there is a world of hope, resources and support out there. We â€“ families with special needs â€“ might seem invisible to the general public, but we are many and we are a resilient, supportive and joyful bunch.