A Down syndrome child is left behind by an Australian couple after a surrogate gives birth to twins. Given a choice, which would we choose? Do we really know? Perhaps we are not free to judge.
Debating if one child is more valuable than another seems a ridiculous standard. Yet, why then did I feel so much terror, so much pain when I found out my child had Down syndrome? Most mothers and parents I know had a similar reaction to mine. Books are written on how to deal with the trauma of having a child with special needs. Why do we consider it a trauma?
When we bring home a healthy, "normal" baby, what guarantee do we have that we actually have a normal child? (Whatever that is.) Children come out of the birth canal screaming with risks. The bathtub is a challenge; food allergies; bee stings; climbing up stairs; traffic accidents; drugs; alcohol; a diagnosis later in life of developmental problems all lurk behind the next sunrise. When a special child is born, in some ways, the notion that child-rearing will be known is lifted. We face more medical challenges, more discrimination, more unknowns in cognitive learning.
But less of a child? How can that be? Of course I have realized that I have this power-house of a dynamo child that is a dazzling wonder to everyone he meets. It is incredibly hard, and all those things we fear in the beginning constantly float about our existence. Special kids pack a punch, and we better all hope we get a chance to really get to know these kids.
The news of my son had Down syndrome hit me like a wall falling over—heavy, hard, trapped. Tears followed; confusion swirled non-stop; and the stunned feeling of the unknown wouldn't leave my side. Funny, there was no time to wallow. Breast milk needed to be pumped and life kept calling: Get in gear, the child needs you.
Judging the couple that left the child behind doesn't solve anything. I understand the fears of taking on this child. The couple will have to deal with their decision. The most important thing to understand is that eliminating special children, leaving them behind, getting rid of them solves nothing. Taking on the challenge is where the enlightenment and riches come. The package is pretty hard to unwrap, but all the best gifts are.
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