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5 Things a Prenatal Test May Not Tell You About Your Baby

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This wasn’t the first time I found myself comforting a pregnant momma whose doctors have diagnosed a problem with her unborn child. Prenatal tests indicated her child to be imperfect and that termination would be in the family’s best interest. I’ve experienced these conversations before. The doctor will provide all of the medical and cognitive complications that will very likely be present at birth.

I have no issue with doctors presenting the facts to parents so they can make an informed decision. Families make these impossible decisions every day. My only issue is that doctors can’t inform any parent completely. Their prognosis can leave out extremely important factors parents should know.

I have the privilege of knowing several children whose parents were given that same advice. These children have undergone multiple surgeries, and their families have faced many challenges to keep their children’s lives going, literally and figuratively. Those parents and their sweet children, along with my own, testify to the “facts” of being a special needs family that a medical prediction doesn’t include.

For the benefit of my sweet friend who is now facing this decision, I’ve compiled an incomplete list of things your child’s diagnosis may not tell you:

1. A child with special needs can change your life for the better.

You can discover places in your heart you never knew existed. They’re like untapped fountains that can only be opened by a child with special needs. I know special needs parents who have found their life’s calling wrapped up in this journey.

2. A child with special needs can unleash the fighter inside you that you never knew existed.

You can become stronger, more fierce and every area of your life will be affected forever. You can attain a new level of toughness and resiliency.

3. A child with special needs can impact their siblings forever.

Siblings of children with special needs are among the finest human beings you will ever meet. They’re the torchbearers to future generations of compassion, understanding and inclusion.

4. A child with special needs can take your faith to depths you never knew existed.

I believe there will be moments, dear friend, when it’s just you and your creator. I believe these moments will transform your faith like nothing else can.

5. A child with special needs can bring joy that can’t be explained.

The tiniest achievement — a roll, a smile, a step, a word — can bring you a profound joy that will live inside you like a lamp oil that doesn’t run out.

Dear friend, I believe every child is a gift. A child with special needs bears treasure for their parents, siblings and all who know them. My special guy has an impact on the world around him every day.

Other than my own children, my favorite kid in the universe is Lucas, whose photo accompanies this post. His parents found out their unborn baby was missing half of his heart. Once born, Lucas was rushed through multiple surgeries. Eight years later, he’s the most wonderful, sweet, loving and courageous boy I’ve ever met.

His parents still find themselves in the hospital frequently. They still face uncertainties on a regular basis. But what none of the doctors could have ever explained is that they, like so many other special needs parents, wouldn’t have changed a thing. Let this post complete the full picture of what you face so that whatever decision you make, it is fully informed.

Melanie Gomez the mighty.2-001

Originally published: August 5, 2015
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