Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Normal Syndrome

When Alfie was born we were so overwhelmed by all the information about his future that we were given - where he might go to school, what his health might be like, and even what his personality might be! I found it very hard to deal with until Matthew wisely pointed out that if we'd been given comparable information when Noah was born we would have been in shock for weeks. Well, my lovely friend Karen has sent me this clipping from the UK Down's Syndrome Association Newsletter (March 2007). It made me laugh out loud:

"I'm very sorry, I have the results of the genetic tests and they have confirmed our suspicions that your foetus is what we call...Normal.
Some people prefer the terms "Ordinarily Challenged" or "Normal Syndrome". The syndrome can be easily identified by a complete lack of any interesting genetic characteristics. I know this will come as a shock to you, buy you should be aware of what this is likely to mean.

If your foetus manages to survive the rest of the pregnancy and the birth, which is becoming more common these days, he or she will face some daunting challenges. Children who suffer from normalcy are prone to heatlh and psychological problems. It is almost certain that the growing child will suffer a seemingly endless stream of viruses. They will frequently damge themselves, and sometimes others, from their excessive energy.

Their relentless demands will put a strain on your existing family and, of course, your relationship with your partner will suffer, and possibly end in a painful and acrimonious separation. Any children you already have, even if they also suffer from normalcy, will be jealous of the newcomer and all their extra attention. Many siblings are liable to be psychologically scarred by the new arrival.

I need hardly mention the financial consequences, although disastrous, they will be nothing compared to the emotional turmoil your life will suffer.

After a while, you may be lucky and find they can be kind and loving young children. They may find some temporary happiness in things such as music, dancing, food or playing with toys.
But if they survive early childhood, a Normal child is almost certain to grow into a Normal adolescent. Your years of sacrifice will be thrown back in your face as they become disobedient, wild and reckless. Unable to find happiness and contentment, they will treat you with contempt until they manage to leave home. Even then the suffering will continue as they will often return to try and extract money. They will blame you for their own faults and leave you bitter and twisted.

They may well become criminals, over a quarter of Normals will have trouble with the law, many will spend time in jail. Many will have problems with alcohol or drug abuse. Normal marriages are often unhappy and short and over half end in divorce.

Even if they become successful this is likely to be because of the often observed tendency of Normals towards excessive greed. The chances of them sharing their success with you are remote and they will tend to see you as an embarrassment.

Finally, Normal people are likely to die before their time. 23% will die of cancer, 33% of heart disease. Hundreds every year in this country alone are so distressed by their condition that they take their own life. I'm sorry to say that many will have had a lonely, painful and pointless existence.

I am afraid that Normal Syndrome is a genetic condition that affects every cell of the body, and so is impossible to cure."

By Anon. (In the printed version there's a warning at the top to say that this is intended to make a serious point in an interesting way and is not meant to offend anyone, except possibly a few doctors).


L. Noelle said...

Please, I would love to copy this and pass it on to everyone I know! It is brilliant! I LOVE IT!!!!! Thank you so much for posting this, it made me laugh out loud, and I couldn't have said any of it better myself! I have often made similar points over and over, however this is the most brilliantly worded example I have ever read! I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT! THANK You Alice!

L. Noelle said...

Hi There. I have officially started a petition for changing the way a prenatal diagnosis is given to new and expecting parents. If you are interested in this issue, please stop by and sign my petition. We can all change this system and get the Prentally Diagnosed Condition Act Passed, introduced by Senator's Kennedy and Brownback. Thank you.