In an essay that’s in the most-viewed spot at the [Toronto] Globe and Mail‘s website, Edmonton mom Sue Robins says she felt as though she’d been slapped when a fellow preschool mom asked her why she didn’t get prenatal testing. Robins’ son, Aaron, has Down syndrome. After escaping to her car, Robins burst into tears. An excerpt:
Why do I have to justify my son’s very existence? Why isn’t it okay that he’s alive? What are you afraid of?
For those of us who have children whose extra chromosomes could have been detected prenatally, it is a long and lonely road. We get asked these questions. We get frantic calls from friends who are considering amniocentesis because their triple-screen prenatal test has come back elevated. The whole genetic testing thing is fraught for parents who have kids with disabilities.
One day it won’t just be “us.” With the clever mapping of genes, there may be tests for all the lovely imperfections of life that make us human. All in the quest for the blue-ribbon baby.
What I should have asked the mom in the playground was, “What if your daughter was in a car accident tomorrow and had a brain injury? Would you love her any less?”
When you can answer those questions, I will answer your questions.