I just found out, 2 hours ago, that my son, that is due in October, has downs syndrome. I have no idea what do do.
Should I push my wife to terminate, adopt, or should we have the baby? We have 3 kids now, two brilliant daughters — the son is autistic. I have seen friends caring for a downs syndrome kid that ended up tearing the families apart, so I have no idea what to do here. Please give me some advice..
He gets a lot of advice, and it’s some of the saddest, most selfish and callous stuff you’ll likely read all week. A few examples:
- “Terminate. I’m so sorry. It’s not worth it. It will tear you guys apart, financially, and emotionally.” #
- “This is pretty much the blunt truth. Your entire family is going to be worse off if you have this child. Parents of children with Downs syndrome will tell you that it has ‘rewards you can’t imagine’, but they are just trying to cover up their miserable lives.” #
- “I would terminate the pregnancy. Bringing this child into the world will be a lifelong sentence for you, your wife and children. Money, time, attention and all your other resources will be mainly funneled toward this child. Also having this child will test your marriage during a critical time in your other three children’s childhood.” #
- “I say terminate. This baby would bring misery. These issues should be dealt with context in mind. Pro-life or the opposite is onlu viable when under certain contexts.” #
- “I hate to say it, but loving families headed by educated, well-meaning parents should not be squandered on severely-disabled (avoidable in this case) children that will burden these families and become a net-loss for society and the gene pool.” #
Thankfully, some saner and more compassionate voices eventually chime in and suggest that, among other things, the OP seek out DS support groups and services and get their input. And some Reddit users with children with DS in their families and social circles share their experiences, revealing that, while raising a child with DS isn’t without its challenges, it’s not the trainwreck that others make it out to be.
What is particularly sad/interesting/disturbing is that those who suggest that having a child with DS isn’t all gloom and doom are quickly dismissed as being emotional, illogical, selfish, arrogant, and blind to their own biases. As “NightOwl-1988” puts it:
No, no, and no. You suffer from selective bias. You likely only hear good things about the kids because honestly, who wants to bitch about their kid 24/7 — something the OP will do if he has this baby. As a person with a degree in genetics and a mother who teaches special education, yeah, special kids only make you feel special about 2% of the time.
It’s always (sadly) fascinating when such callous disregard for human life, especially human life that is disabled in some way, is lauded as the logical and responsible course of action. Fascinating, but not surprising given the consumerist, utilitarian, and materialistic mindsets that pervade much of our culture and seek to assign value to human beings based primarily on how productive, successful, and autonomous they are. (Hmm… I wonder what Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva would suggest?)
Arguments for termination might be couched in terms of not wanting the child to suffer or experience a sub-standard life, or not wanting to impose burdens on their siblings. On the surface, such arguments might sound reasonable, perhaps even compassionate. After all, who wants a child to suffer? (Which, of course, raises the question of whether a child with a disability like DS actually suffers or not.)
But strip away all of that and you’re left with one simple fact: those who give such advice are still advocating for the premeditated and deliberate killing of an unborn child primarily because he/she represents a threat to some perceived/desired level of comfort and security. It’s selfishness, pure and simple. And no amount of sophistry can change that.