This month’s 12-12-12 project is focused on Down Syndrome awareness. Project member Andi Durkin is the first project member to ask me to complete assignments.
Normally I jump into research mode, and start uncovering as much information trying to understand the medical condition.
Andi has asked me NOT to read her blog or research information, rather work through various assignments.
I think she is trying to get me to understand the emotional side of being a mother to a child with Down syndrome.
Having me get into the mindset of a woman that is planning for a “perfect” birth, and is greeted with a baby that has the “imperfection” of a genetic condition.
It’s worth it to check out assignment #1 ,
Onto Assignment #2…
Read and sit each day with three birth stories
“What the heck is a birth story?” Excuse my ignorance, but I didn’t realize that a birth story has a literal meaning. A birth story is recalling the birth of a baby.
I was given two stories 5 days ago, and I am STILL rattled.
Reading stories of women pouring their hearts out and being vulnerable has been uncomfortable. For MONTHS, they planned and prepared for what they envisioned would be the “perfect” child.
I always associated birth with physical pain and joy. Baby showers, family and friends, eagerly gathered and awaiting the birth, hopes and dreams of bonding with your baby.
I NEVER associated the word “birth” with depression, agony, hurt, shock, resentment, grief and EVEN mental breakdown!
I was SO rattled by the initial birth story that I shot Andi an email…
WOW! WOW! I am finding it difficult to move past this first birth story. I feel guilty for judging “insert mother’s name”.
One mother talked about how difficult it has been to cope having a baby with Down syndrome. If she had followed through with genetic testing and found out her child had Down syndrome she would have terminated the pregnancy.
The mother DIDN’T get the testing, because, in her case, there was a 1 in 250/300 % chance her child could have Down syndrome and those were the same percentages of risk of a miscarriage from having the genetic testing.
I IMMEDIATELY began to judge her. What’s WRONG WITH ME?
Is it because I now view the world through disabled eyes? I would not want those in my circle to give up on me for my newfound inabilities. How could you give-up on a baby with inabilities?
Maybe I don’t get it because I am not a mother and I can’t understand motherhood?
Maybe it’s because she used the words “perfect body” and acknowledged that her child was not “perfect!”
Look at me! I can’t even type the word “perfect” without putting it in quotes. Does perfection even exists in relation to human beings!
Maybe genetic testing SHOULD NOT be allowed?
Maybe we SHOULD continue with genetic testing and allow termination when genetic abnormalities are acknowledged?
Is testing and termination the answer vs. a mother not bonding or wanting her child based on a genetic abnormality she could have known about through testing?
I am all jacked up!
Morality and ethics could lead me down the road to anger and judgement. I don’t want to judge another woman for wanting what she envisions as the “perfect” child. BUT, why did I so quickly pull out my judgement card? Grief.