Posted on First Things:
By Amy Julia Becker
Monday, March 31, 2008, 6:24 AM
I remember how I felt two hours after my daughter Penny was born, when I first found out that she had Down syndrome. I sifted through my brain for some scrap of information about this “thing” that had just happened to our family. All I could come up with was early death and mental retardation. The doctors didn’t help much. In the hospital, we received a list of all the things that might go wrong with our baby–heart defects, leukemia, Celiac disease, developmental delays. Despite the hundreds of thousands of people with Down syndrome in America, even the medical professionals didn’t seem to know much about it.
Penny is two years old now, the initial shock and fear of having a child with an extra chromosome has worn off and I’m pregnant again. Yesterday morning, a colleague stopped me, “I didn’t know you were expecting!” she exclaimed. I grinned and patted my round belly, “Hard to miss. I’m at the halfway mark.” I opened my car door with the intention of driving away. But she continued, “I assume you’ve done all the screening on this one to find out, if, you know . . .” We went on to talk at length about the various prenatal tests I could undergo. I tried to explain why I wasn’t opting for an amniocentesis, why I was somewhat uncomfortable with the prenatal testing industry in general, and why I wasn’t particularly concerned about having another child with Down syndrome. But she didn’t seem to understand. ..................................
Please click the above link or here to read the whole essay.