When My Doctor Asked Why I Was 'Keeping' My Son With Down Syndrome
Since our son Harvey James Thompson was born in August 2017, I have often reflected on when or if I would share my thoughts about the question my OB asked me when I was four months pregnant and sitting in his office. He looked directly into my eyes and asked me, “Why are you keeping this child?”
We had just received the news that our darling baby boy growing inside of me was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and at the time I had no idea how to process his question, never mind answer it. I hadn’t the faintest clue what Down syndrome even meant. I looked at him in his office, gripping my fists, fearful emotions surging through my body and the sensation of my son’s movements in my belly, and I, Sarah Thompson, didn’t know how to answer his question. I paused, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and felt this energetic response flowing through from an inner voice, my soul, and exclaimed, “because this is my son!”
Truthfully, I was terrified. I didn’t know the first thing about Down syndrome. I had never known someone with Down syndrome, and after several referrals to doctors after our diagnosis, we were only told the not-so-pretty stuff about Down syndrome. The doctor was talking about birthing our son, talking about some of the concerns he had with Down syndrome, but my ears and my mind shut him out completely, along with every societal norm that tried to enter my mind. Any religious beliefs or past thought patterns were completely gone. I was no longer listening; my brain had fully surrendered and my inner being took complete control over my body. A life force more powerful than my analytical brain came alive. My soul had officially awakened to help me.
I embraced all these new flutters and vibrations. I remember my body shaking with nerves and I asked my inner self, “Is this going to be OK? Can I do this?” I often still tell this story to my close friends and family and explain that I believe my son spoke to me while in utero. I intuitively heard him say, “Everything is going to be OK, Mommy. We can do this.”
Two years later, with our beautiful, healthy, growing toddler running around our house like he owns it, I wish I could have told my doctor this: “I allowed myself to stop over-analyzing. I got out of my brain and for the first time in my life, I dove deep into my soul. I opened my heart right open and found guidance there. I could feel it was the best decision for our family.” I had spent endless hours surfing the Internet for answers, Googling questions about Down syndrome. I was analyzing every single piece of information I could get my eyes and hands on about Down syndrome and it drove me into the darkest place I have ever been. I had to let go of that and trust my instincts.
I have since retold this experience to one expectant mother going through prenatal testing for genetic abnormalities, and my advice is truly from my heart.
“If you receive your positive test result for trisomy 21, I know how frightening that news can be. But please, as one helpful alternative to the information overload you are receiving, try to meditate, go deep within. Not all our answers are found on the surface, in a book, online, text, or through our analytical minds. Heck, even my own OB didn’t have the answers and me choosing to keep our son sincerely confused him. Trust your gut, trust your internal instincts, your soul, open your heart. All of those beautiful organs within you can feel. Let them help be your guides and pull you out of one of the darkest places you perhaps have ever entered. Allow yourself to feel light and receive answers for your family.”
So, better late than never, I can now fully answer my OB’s question with strength, compassion and honesty. “I choose to keep my son because I internally and energetically felt everything was going to be OK and I would love him more than life itself.”
“If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies. How different our idea of beauty would be.” – Unknown