Friday, January 05, 2007

Dear John

One of the members of the NSDSS wrote an newspaper article about her experience of raising two children who have Down Syndrome. It was a beautifully written, personal and heartfelt piece, however it prompted a very stupid and unkind response from one of the readers. I'm just going to put my reaction here, but many people wrote back to 'John' about their experiences of parenting children who have Down Syndrome. There are many different replies, but the one united message is that poor 'John' has missed out. You can read them all on the NSDSS website.

"Hi, I am writing about the article featured in the Saturday paper regarding the parents of 2 down syndrome little girls. To tell you the truth I would not want to be in those parent's shoes. My wife and I terminated two pregnancies once we found out our babies were going to be down's. There was no way we were going to bring special need babies into our family. Those parents in the paper say they are happy however deep inside I am sure they are struggling emotionally. They are not blind. Obviously they have not been around normal babies. With all the resources available nowadays to find out early about the genetics and gender of the baby, why would anybody put themselves thru this kind of life. Just wanted to share my views on this subject."

DEEP INSIDE I AM SURE JOHN is struggling emotionally. It must be difficult for him to know that he could have had gorgeous and adorable children but didn't because, like hundreds of others, he wasn't privileged to accurate information. I have two children, one with DS and one without, and am delighted and proud of them both equally. They are both wonderful children, at times challenging, and sometimes giving me so much joy I could cry. I don't want to rub John's nose in it though because he's dealing with difficult decisions in his own way.

I was lucky, I'd known people who had Down syndrome before I got pregnant and knew that my family could be richer for the difference that DS would bring. Most people aren't so fortunate - and the unknown can be very scary indeed. It is important for those providing the Down syndrome neonatal tests to be able to provide accurate and holistic information - not just scare stories - so that people are able to make informed choices and aren't left to fall back on bigotry.


Sara said...

Wow, for a letter like that to be written tells me that we are not getting out there enough with awareness!!! This is 2007, not 1900, wow, I mean he has a right to his opinion but to judge those who chose a "differnt" path then he and his wife did, is not very fair.

Alice said...

Do you know though - some people are still racist and sexist too, there are plenty of nasty people about and we shouldn't give them too much thought. I wondered about putting this up on my blog - I don't want to give his views more airtime than they deserve. The good thing that has come from this is that the woman who wrote the article has turned it around completely. She sent him all the responses that people wrote and posted them on the NSDSS website too - there are scores of really heartfelt stories. The way she has handled it has made me see that you really can make a positive from a negative.

Alice said...

Also, the man is obviously a complete (insert expletive here).

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