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Parents of son with disabilities: We wish we’d aborted

What is a moment’s joy worth? Jill and Iain Kelly don’t care. In a news article that describes their son Dylan’s mischievous eagerness to chase his sister around the house, they say the truth is, they wish they had aborted Dylan.

“I didn’t want a baby with disabilities,” Jill told the UK’s Daily Mail. “I was thinking, ‘Is he going to be in a wheelchair? Am I going to lose my job and be a stay-in parent?’ It wasn’t what I wanted for myself at the time.”

The extent of their selfishness leaves me breathless. The Daily Mail explains the Kellys are speaking out now only after being forced to abandon legal action against the medical professionals who did not inform them of the extent of Dylan’s disabilities or the pain he would suffer.

“We made it clear to the doctors that we didn’t want a child who wasn’t going to be able to ride a bike and do things that normal children do,” Iain told the newspaper.

Without question, this child has been through too much: “Born with severe micrognathia, a condition that causes an undersized jaw and acute breathing difficulties, Dylan needs round-the-clock care,” the article reports.

No child deserves that.

And no child deserves to live with parents who wish they had killed him before he was born.

This isn’t a pro-choice abortion story. This is about the heart of a parent (or in this case, two), and how all parents welcome their child into the world without a vapor of an idea about what that child’s future will hold.

We learned our son, Charlie, had Down syndrome when I was 18 weeks’ pregnant. Soon after, he developed hydrops, which often results in a baby’s death before birth. We aren’t particularly religious people, and we’re both pro-choice. But for us, the only choice was to trust in our medical team, pray a lot (who doesn’t find God in those moments?) and wait. Breathe. Love our child before we’d even seen his crazily pointed, bleached-blond locks of hair and wide, blue eyes.

As a result, we have this incredible, joyous, cantankerous, loving, stubborn little boy who is worth a kajillion times the cost of therapies, doctors’ appointments and anti-depressants (yes, the Kellys even complain they need antidepressants to survive).

As for the Daily Mail article, I take issue with the reporter Amy Oliver’s proclamation that “the fact is that the Kellys’ lives have been shattered.”

Shattered? The Kellys have two beautiful children who undoubtedly love their parents without reservation and who deserve reciprocated, unconditional love. Dylan deserves the respect of never knowing his parents wish he had never been born.

It’s too late for that.

Millions of parents would love to call Dylan their own, accept his challenges and focus on giving him the best life possible. For the Kellys, I have just one printable suggestion: adoption.

More about parenting a child with special needs

Don’t tell me I should have aborted my child with Down syndrome
Dangerous misconceptions about Down syndrome and abortion
When families fail parents of a child with special needs

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