Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not my baby...

I was reading another blog (http://midlifeandtreachery.blogspot.com/) today and this made me think. I have a colleague at work who I often have tea with in the morning. The other day she was telling me about her life and she confided that she had gotten pregnant with her first husband. She found out this child had Down Syndrome and subsequently aborted the baby. She noticed as she told me this that I was visably affected. She said she had been hesitant to tell me because of my own disability. I was taken aback, and I did try not to show it. I do believe, as readers of my previous posts will note, in pro-choice. I agree that it is her choice whether to abort or not, and believe it or not I do understand her decision. But a part of me still took her decision very personally. You can be friends, family, partner, colleague to someone with a disability and care for them, love them, be incensed at the injustice they endure, but it's a whole different issue when you are about to give birth to a child with a disability. Not my baby. And to be brutally honest, I think that's part of what's fundamentally wrong with our society. Disability is fine as long as it affects someone else. Which begs the question of how acceptable disability "really" is in our society? How can it not affect us when we hear that our family, friends, colleagues don't want a disabled baby? And how do we keep respect for personal decisions when it touches something that is so personal to us? I like this person. I think she's a good person and I hope to maintain a close relationship with her, at least at work. But it still hurts to know that she felt having a down syndrome baby was a sign that this baby wasn't mean to be. She is since divorced and remarried with a healthy baby, and I am happy for her. But I am still left feeling a little less because of what she told me.


imfunnytoo said...

It's so hard. To understand that choice on some level, and that it *is* her choice...but yet, like you I feel diminished when I hear these things....and I feel for some friends, past and present who have Downs.

"It's okay that you're here now, but we made sure there was one less of you..."

That's how it seems to me.

historic dennell said...

The Disabled ARE the unseen in society - at least here in the UK they are. I've noticed that since I've become disabled and use a mobility scooter that people just DO NOT see me, whether through habit or choice I don't know. I do know however that there is not enough support in this country to enable electric scooter users to use public transport. See my 'rant' about this at http://disabledwithfibromyalgia.blogspot.com/atom.xml

Alex said...

Why people abort healthy babies ?

Absolutely selfish. But thats the way we all live.

There may be more choices but only one can be right.

Able Mart said...

It seems very crass on her part. I'm surprised she told you. I wonder what her motive was. I don't think things like that are accidental.

Leticia said...

As the mother of a 4 year old girl with Down Syndrome who KNEW that she had Downs before she was born, I can validate your hurt at your friend's choice. She deemed a child like my loving, laughing, stubborn, clever, cuddly, curious little girl unworthy of life. And deep down, you wonder if she were expecting a child with your particular disability, would she have aborted as well.
We are all diminished when one of us is deemed life unworthy of life; when babies are judged by their physical and mental potential even before they are born.
I'll tell you one thing I am sure of: Christina will never embarrass her parents by gettin incarcerated, hooked on drugs, or having multiple lovers.
She will most likely lead a contented, fulfilled life surrounded by loved ones, working and playing, and enjoying life.
I feel sorry for what your friend missed out on by aborting her child.

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