2nd Trimester

Sensitive Subject - Not keeping baby with (certain) disabilities?

I'm sure this is a flameworthy subject but...

Anyone else not sure what they'll do if their baby tests for Down Syndrome or other disabilities?

I read somewhere that 90% of Down babies are aborted nowadays so I can't be the only one who would not want to keep that child. Even the idea of bringing it full term for adoption is unlikely if I ended up in that situation.

I'm 23 and healthy so I know my risk of abnormalities are (relatively) low but it's still something I've discussed with friends and my DH.

Hopefully I can get some honest opinions and not JUST pro-lifers on high horses.

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Re: Sensitive Subject - Not keeping baby with (certain) disabilities?

  • I honestly couldn't see myself doing that...not a pro-life thing persay, but I guess I feel bonded with baby early and can't imagine making that decision.  I don't blame you for being scared of that idea though.
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  • While I am pretty sure that I wouldn't do anything to terminate my pregnancy, I know that you really can't make such a decision until it happens to you!
  • I could not imagine aborting a child that had issues unless the baby would have NO chance of living or living only a short time and in pain.

    People with Downs can have very rich and full lives. Different from what society might deem normal but certainly rich and full. I think if someone can not handle the potential risks of having children then they should re-think their decision. Nothing in this life is promised to us and to let go of a child who is not 'perfect' is unthinkable to me.

    I agree with PP that it is a scary prospect to have a child with special needs but that goes with the territory of being a parent. You take what you get and you are thankful everyday for it. Especially after what it took for me to have this baby. 

     

  • I don't see how you can ask this without people being on the pro-life or pro-choice side. But yes, I'm pro-life, and no I'd never EVER abort based on any disability. My reason isn't just the whole "it's wrong" thing, but because I lost my last baby, and that completely changed my view on abortion. After losing the one I wanted SO badly, the thought of ending a pregnancy deliberately just is not an option for me, and yes it upsets me that others can be so non-chalant about it and use abortion as a form of birth control. If my baby has Down Syndrome or any other issue, I'm willing to accept it and love my child anyway. Nothing in life is guaranteed to be easy, and if my child happens to have special needs, then that just makes my baby that much more special to me.

    Now if the pregnancy might possibly kill ME... I'd have a very VERY tough decision to make. A baby is everything to me, and I very well may risk my life for my child, I just pray I'm never put in that position. 

  • You are not the only one, but many many people (and certainly not just pro-lifers on high horses) understandably get very emotional about this subject. 

    It seems a bit of a taboo to mention it on many boards, but it is discussed on the 35 and pregnant board as people's test results come back and people make decisions about further testing. 

    It is a tough topic for a message board because it encourages quick short replies.  People bring different assumptions and experiences to the table, but I would hope that most people, in recognition of the gravity of the decision for the couple making it would take a 'there but for the grace of God go I' approach of non-judgment.

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  • I have always opted out of the testing for that.  I personally feel that no matter what this is my child and I will love her no matter what. 

    Not flaming you but what is it about a "sick" child that you feel this way?

  • Honestly, my opinion is that if you aren't prepared to raise a special needs child, then you aren't ready to be a parent.  Being a parent is dealing with what is thrown at you.  So what if your child doesn't have an obvious disability when they are born, but it is discovered several years later, are you going to give your child up then?  Say a terrible heart defect isn't detected until a child is 2ish.  They will have a lifetime of surgery and difficulty ahead of them.  Are you going to give up that child because of that disability?  To me there is absolutely no difference.

    I have a good friend who has a son with Downs Syndrome and sure they have struggles and issues but he is the HAPPIEST, SWEETEST child that I have ever met.  He is so caring and loving and I can't imagine the world without him.  If you spend 10  minutes talking to his mother you learn how much he has taught HER about life and love. 

  • a big problem with the testing is it can give a false positive. i personally know 2 people this happend to and the babies both came out totally fine. its a really scary decision to make. i have thought really hard about this as well. i'm a nurse and i work with mrdd individuals and it scares the sh!t out of me when i go to work and see all the possible problems. something i do take comfort in is alot of the parents of my individuals have their own disabilities that have been inherited. also, i have 2 downs individuals, and both of their mothers were over 37 when they were concieved. just remember, the chance of baby not being well is slim if you take take of yourself
  • image disbride061103:

    Honestly, my opinion is that if you aren't prepared to raise a special needs child, then you aren't ready to be a parent.  Being a parent is dealing with what is thrown at you.  So what if your child doesn't have an obvious disability when they are born, but it is discovered several years later, are you going to give your child up then?  Say a terrible heart defect isn't detected until a child is 2ish.  They will have a lifetime of surgery and difficulty ahead of them.  Are you going to give up that child because of that disability?  To me there is absolutely no difference.

    I have a good friend who has a son with Downs Syndrome and sure they have struggles and issues but he is the HAPPIEST, SWEETEST child that I have ever met.  He is so caring and loving and I can't imagine the world without him.  If you spend 10  minutes talking to his mother you learn how much he has taught HER about life and love. 

    Much better said than my reply. I agree with you 1000%! 

  • Your last statement was not needed. You can't control who posts on a public board and insulting people only makes it worse. I know of several children with various disabilities (including downs) in my family and community. They are usually the most fun and loving kids you've ever met and their parents wouldn't trade them for anything despite any extra work they may require. There are some ver high functioning independant downs adults in the community as well. So I will keep the baby no matter what. I won't judge you as I don't believe that's my place, I can only pray for both of you. I'll get off my "every life is a gift" horse now.
  • I have a genetic disease that has a 50% chance of being passed on. We did many years of IVF with PGD to prevent this. When we had had enough, financially and emotionally, we discussed trying on our own for quite some time before taking the plunge and actually doing it. We had frank discussions about termination, we went to counseling, and when all was said and done, we decided that we were going to stop trying to control everything. We will not be terminating this pg. if the baby is affected. The baby has a very good chance of living a normal life even if affected. As someone else posted, you can have a perfectly healthy child, but what if that child gets in  an accident and becomes brain damaged? Or gets cancer? Life is never guaranteed, ever.

    All that being said, I completely understand why people would. I went through a period in my life where I was certain I could as well. I don't judge because in my journeys through IVF and PGD I have seen some unimaginable pain and suffering of parents and children, I have seen diseases that are devastating and horrific. But now that I am in this very position, I personally cannot imagine doing it. Oh, I am very pro-choice, btw :)

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  • image hollowstar:

    I'm sure this is a flameworthy subject but...

    Anyone else not sure what they'll do if their baby tests for Down Syndrome or other disabilities?

    I read somewhere that 90% of Down babies are aborted nowadays so I can't be the only one who would not want to keep that child. Even the idea of bringing it full term for adoption is unlikely if I ended up in that situation.

    So...seriously, you wouldn't keep your child if you knew it had Downs Syndrome?  If you wouldn't...why?

  • I wouldn't rule out any option. My sister is severely disabled, and I've seen what my parents have gone through with her. She will never be independent. She's like a 2-year old in 30-year-old's body. I will have to take care of her one day, and it's a huge issue for everyone in my family. I wouldn't choose that life for anyone. I think it's easy to say that "special needs" kids are no big deal if you haven't dealt with it it every single day. Maybe they're cute and happy when they're little, but it's a lot harder when they're grown adults. After you're gone, who will take care of them? There are a lot of issues people don't think about.
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  • I'll be an outsider with you.  Sure, some people with Downs can live great lives, but many, many don't.  Many are NOT the high functioning people you see working at your grocery store. 

    Before becoming pregnant I tested + for the CF gene.  Had my DH also tested postitive we would have first talked about adoption options, but had we proceeded to conceive on our own, and our baby was + for CF, we probably would have aborted. 

     

  • image jlthompson19:

    I'll be an outsider with you.  Sure, some people with Downs can live great lives, but many, many don't.  Many are NOT the high functioning people you see working at your grocery store. 

    Do you have statistics to back up this claim?

  • image jlthompson19:

    I'll be an outsider with you.  Sure, some people with Downs can live great lives, but many, many don't.  Many are NOT the high functioning people you see working at your grocery store. 

    Before becoming pregnant I tested + for the CF gene.  Had my DH also tested postitive we would have first talked about adoption options, but had we proceeded to conceive on our own, and our baby was + for CF, we probably would have aborted. 

     

    Wow, really? This day and age, there is so much amazing technology out there that many CF people *can* live full and healthy lives. Yes, there is that chance that your child may not make it to their teens, but... I couldn't imagine passing that up. I know two sisters with CF, and one just passed away.. at the age of 27 years old and the other is 31 and going strong... both girls are/were the sweetest, most intelligent, fully functioning women, with actually the most amazing singing voices you'd ever heard... and considering the lung issues, it's even more amazing that they used those voices to their full potential. 

    Even the Mayo Clinic says "In the past, most people with cystic fibrosis died in their teens. Improved screening and treatments now allow many people with cystic fibrosis to live into their 50s or even longer." http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cystic-fibrosis/DS00287

     

  • I would never ever abort my child! That is part of what comes along with choosing to become a parent. I think downs children are so sweet and loving just like any healthy child. I think it's crazy to abort b-c of the possibility of downs, but that is just me. I would never give my baby up for adoption either if he/she was born w/ downs.
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  • If the baby could survive, we wouldn't abort. Dh and I tried for a year for this baby so there's no way we would ever give it away either. We are mature enough and financially stable enough to caRe for a child with special needs. It wouldn't be easy...but it would be our baby.

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    I would never abort - no matter what genetic issues we were facing.

    My decision is not made solely because I am pro-life.  I have gone through hell to get (and stay) pregnant. So, I could never willing stop the life of a baby that was actually growing inside of me.  While it wouldn't be ideal, I would just trust in my faith that I wasn't being dealt more than I could handle.

    My cousin had a DS baby when she was 16 - it was hard but so rewarding for her.  Her son is now 15 and she is one of the best moms I know.  And honestly, had he not had major problems that required so much time and attention, I am not sure she would have "grown up" and done what needed to be done.

    In my book disability do NOT equal only negative things - positives can be found (and should be found) in ever situation.

     

  • image his1stmy4th:

    I have always opted out of the testing for that.  I personally feel that no matter what this is my child and I will love her no matter what. 

    Not flaming you but what is it about a "sick" child that you feel this way?

    This was my sister's way of thinking and although I see your point my husband wanted me to be tested so that we could find all the resources possible to help if we did have a child with special needs. Then again it could cause added stress that is not needed if the baby is perfectly fine.

    I did the quad screen b/c I missed the opportunity for the NT scan, but I mainly did it to satisfy my husband. He likes to be very prepared if possible. We would not terminate any baby no matter what.  

  • image disbride061103:
    image jlthompson19:

    I'll be an outsider with you.  Sure, some people with Downs can live great lives, but many, many don't.  Many are NOT the high functioning people you see working at your grocery store. 

    Do you have statistics to back up this claim?

    I know my sister. She doesn't have Down's, but she has another birth defect that has a very wide range of effects, from high-functioning to needing to be under 24/7 care. She's in the second group. My experience with her affects me MUCH more than any statistics ever would, or what random strangers on the internet say.
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  • We did the AFP/quad screen in part for peace of mind and in part to prepare us if our child would have special needs.  What you do with those results is a personal choice.  I think that the choice is probably influenced by what challenges you are dealing with.  IMO,  Downs is a whole different scenario than a disorder/birth defect that means that the child won't live much past birth.

    I think all parents go through the "what ifs"  This link was posted a while back so you may have seen it. http://www.kellehampton.com/2010/01/nella-cordelia-birth-story.html?spref=fb It really brought me some peace about having a child with special needs.  I will warn you, it is emotionally intense and will probably make you cry.

  • image JhawkCE:
    Your last statement was not needed. You can't control who posts on a public board and insulting people only makes it worse. I know of several children with various disabilities (including downs) in my family and community. They are usually the most fun and loving kids you've ever met and their parents wouldn't trade them for anything despite any extra work they may require. There are some ver high functioning independant downs adults in the community as well. So I will keep the baby no matter what. I won't judge you as I don't believe that's my place, I can only pray for both of you. I'll get off my "every life is a gift" horse now.

    This. All of it! My DH's uncle has Down's Syndrome. He's in his 50's, lives on his own, has a job, and is nothing short of a happy man living a full life. 

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  • As a psychologist who specializes in autism and other developmental disabilities, this question just makes me cringe. But, I also know that if one hasn't had much exposure to children with disabilities, it can lead to a lot of fear. I'm actually a pro-choice person for a variety of reasons that go beyond the scope of this question (just for context). Given I work with children who have disabilities, I know many happy (and not so happy) parents of children with disabilities. If you were to ask any one of them (the happy or unhappy ones) this question, they would fight you tooth and nail on why you should not end such a pregnancy. I have found no differences in this between parents who have "typical" children and parents who have children with disabilities (the complete love and dedication that they have for their children). The parents of children with disabilities who are unhappy are unhappy for reasons that go far beyond their child's disability. Not to say rearing a child with a disability is easy (not even close), but at the end of the day, they are children, adolescents, and adults who contribute greatly to our world, have their own unique personalities and gifts, and in contrast to what others up above have said, often lead fulfilling lives. Their idea of fulfilling may not be conventional or acceptable by small minded people, but as parents, it is our important role to nurture and accept our children. In turn, these children help parents grow immensely - trust me.
  • image snansley:

    We did the AFP/quad screen in part for peace of mind and in part to prepare us if our child would have special needs.  What you do with those results is a personal choice.  I think that the choice is probably influenced by what challenges you are dealing with.  IMO,  Downs is a whole different scenario than a disorder/birth defect that means that the child won't live much past birth.

    I think all parents go through the "what ifs"  This link was posted a while back so you may have seen it. http://www.kellehampton.com/2010/01/nella-cordelia-birth-story.html?spref=fb It really brought me some peace about having a child with special needs.  I will warn you, it is emotionally intense and will probably make you cry.

    Reading now, and definitely crying.... this is beautiful.

  • image gtown_bride:
    image disbride061103:
    image jlthompson19:

    I'll be an outsider with you.  Sure, some people with Downs can live great lives, but many, many don't.  Many are NOT the high functioning people you see working at your grocery store. 

    Do you have statistics to back up this claim?

    I know my sister. She doesn't have Down's, but she has another birth defect that has a very wide range of effects, from high-functioning to needing to be under 24/7 care. She's in the second group. My experience with her affects me MUCH more than any statistics ever would, or what random strangers on the internet say.

    I appreciate your experiences and that of your sister, however, to post a comment that many people with Downs are not high functioning when you have nothing but your experience with a sister who doesn't have Downs is honestly down right irresponsible.  You can not compare two completely different disablities and say that because your sister needs 24/7 care, that MOST people with Downs are not high functioning.  It's quite offensive to people who do  have Downs and who are high funtioning.

  • DH and I have done volunteer work with children that have disabilities and to be honest, it does take a special kind of parent to raise them. However, I don't think any of them chose their situation, they learned to live with it and have happy children because of it.

    I'm pro-choice, but I'm also a believer that you won't be given something you can't handle. Personally, I would not terminate a pregnancy due to any illness/disability. That's also why we skipped the testing. Being a young parent with a child that has a disability is not anyone's ideal situation, but terminating a pregnancy due to the inconveniences it may cause you isn't fair. Anyone that thinks parenthood is going to be convenient has another thing coming to them. Totally off topic, this is one reason I don't understand scheduling c-sections or inductions for convenience (not medical) reasons... 

  • image susan1017:

    I could not imagine aborting a child that had issues unless the baby would have NO chance of living or living only a short time and in pain.

    People with Downs can have very rich and full lives. Different from what society might deem normal but certainly rich and full. I think if someone can not handle the potential risks of having children then they should re-think their decision. Nothing in this life is promised to us and to let go of a child who is not 'perfect' is unthinkable to me.

    I agree with PP that it is a scary prospect to have a child with special needs but that goes with the territory of being a parent. You take what you get and you are thankful everyday for it. Especially after what it took for me to have this baby. 

     

    Well said!  I just don't think I could live with myself knowing that I didn't do everything in my power to make sure that child had a life filled with love and happiness.  I recently read a blog about someone who had their 2nd child and she was born with a slight case of downs.  It was really touching to read the mother's emotions during the first week.  I wish I could find the link, the way she explained things made it so beautiful. 

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  • NO! I couldn't.  Really it wouldn't matter how bad off the baby was I would still have him/her.  I just watched a friend have her baby at 27 weeks and he died 4 hrs later and although traumatic the parents we still thrilled to have those 4 hours with their baby.  To me they are gifts no matter how challenging a gift.  The only way I would abort is if for some reason the baby would kill me. With H1N1 this year my husband and i had that conversation, what he was to do if I were to get that sick.  We opted not to get the vaccine as we felt it was pushed out to fast with no research on it. It was a tough talk and upset us both but both agreed if I was not far enough along that the baby would make it if I died that at that time we would terminate rather then loss us both. But other then a life and death situation, I could not terminate my child for any reason.
  • No. I would never abort my baby, even if I found out he had downs syndrome or any other disease.
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