To the OBGYN Who Said My Daughter With Down Syndrome Would Be a 'Burden'
My daughter’s birthday is in less than a month. She will be 13. For her 13th birthday I am going to make a collage of photos and send it to the first OB-GYN I had when I was pregnant with her. At 11 weeks gestation, after nuchal translucency results that showed our baby would have a 1 in 5 chance of having Down syndrome, she asked when we would like to schedule the termination at a regularly scheduled appointment.
When we told her we would not be terminating the pregnancy, she tried to convince us that we were making the wrong decision. That our baby would be a burden to our family and to society. That we would not have good quality of life if we chose to keep this baby.
I will be including a letter with the pictures. It will go something like this:
You probably don’t remember us, but in 2006 I was pregnant with this little girl. After nuchal translucency testing, we received a 1 in 5 “risk” of our baby having Down syndrome. You asked when we would like to schedule the termination. When we told you we weren’t going to terminate the pregnancy, you tried to convince us that we were making the wrong decision. You told us that our baby would be a burden to our family and to society. That our quality of life would not be good. We walked out of your office and never came back. But we also never forgot your words.
So we thought you should have a glimpse into our life today. We thought you should see the girl you urged us to terminate.
Here she is. She’s kind and caring. She is brave. She’s funny. She not only understands sarcasm, she is fluent in it. She loves music and she loves to dance. She can identify most songs on the radio within a few seconds. She wants to work at a zoo or a vet’s office so we told her she needs to try and learn everything she can about animals. She uses books and the internet to obtain facts about animals, then she writes them down (Yes! She can read and write!) She studies the animal facts so that she won’t forget them.
We wanted to share her with you so that hopefully, when you encounter another mama who is pregnant with a baby who has Down syndrome, you will choose your words more carefully. I’m not asking you to paint a pretty picture that doesn’t include some of the challenges that come along with having Down syndrome, I just want you to paint a fair picture. I want you to remember our girl.