She is actually very healthy and happy, but parenting her is difficult. And saying so might embolden those who think that it’s understandable, perhaps even preferable, to abort babies with disabilities.
Do I share the details of how we finally solved her chronic constipation? Or tell about her compulsive hair-pulling and shoe-throwing? Or explain how conversations with parents at her school start with apologies for her behavior?
Half of my dearest friends are pro-life Catholics (like me), and half are pro-choice secularists. Among the latter, some are not just secular, but anti-religion. A few have also told me they would have aborted a Down syndrome baby.
We agree to disagree—and not discuss—some issues.
Despite our differences, these truly are beloved friends. I cherish our heart-to-hearts. God knows all of us have our parenting tales of defeat and embarrassment, with or without a special needs child.
But every once in a while I wonder whether a confidant will take my griping the wrong way and generalize about my experience.
Do my complaints confirm suspicions that a special needs child is a burden? Will my words somehow find their way to a woman who’s just received an in utero diagnosis?
“…I know someone who has a really tough time of it. She fears for the future. They never go out; they can’t trust a babysitter…”
Will what I’ve said indirectly lead to an abortion?
The larger truth is that Magdalena strengthened our family and gave us true joy. She forged in our other children something special and profound. Yes, it’s hard, but she makes our world go round.
To my anti-religious, pro-choice friends, this might sound like BS shined up with hollow, Christian buzzwords. I know saying she’s a gift from God makes their eyes roll.
Sure, everyone vents about their kids. But babies with Down syndrome are aborted in high numbers, in part because of the perception that it is hard to raise them.
So when I complain, I think the stakes are higher. I feel a responsibility to be extra careful about the impressions I leave.
From Family Events.