Worth It

In this country more than eighty percent of babies diagnosed pre-natally with Down Syndrome are aborted. More than eighty percent. My mind is boggled by this number. Abosolutely and completely boggled.

Now, I have known some really awesome couples who simply refused to have any tests for anomalies–they knew that whatever God had given them, they would take.

My husband and I weren’t that awesome. We discussed and debated whether or not to have the test. You see, neither of us believes in abortion. Far be it from me to tell other people how to live their lives, but for us abortion was never an option. So why have the test? For me, the reason was simple: if the baby had problems, then I wanted to be able to prepare for them.

You can’t prepare for everything, though.

Here I am just days away from Charlie’s first birthday. The “little boy who shouldn’t have” has made it so far. There was no preparing for his birth; no preparation for what lay ahead.

So, why am I bothering to re-hash all this ancient history? For one simple reason. This is the internet. Somewhere, some parent may Google “massive brain damage” or “cerebral palsy” or “infant stroke.” I was this person a little less than a year ago, and I want my opinion on the whole thing to be clear:

It is so worth it.

When I was pregnant, I waited to say these words. I wanted so badly to know that the sleepless nights and the heartburn and puffy feet were all worth it. I wanted to know without a shadow of doubt that I had put my body through hell for the right reasons. I dreamt of posting those very words on this blog.

It wasn’t clear right after I gave birth, though. My heart ached and my body had been sliced open. I literally ached, but wished I could be numb. My life was the shambles and I couldn’t hold the baby that I’d carried inside of me for thirty-seven weeks. Was it worth it?

Yes.

Charlie is an amazing person. He loves macaroni and cheese, marinara sauce, chicken salad, cheese dip, and juice. He hates carrots and asparagus. He has his father’s nose, and eyes, and thighs (chubby). He has my grandfather’s chin. He is sweet and rarely cries, but he is a master at pouting. He loves to be held and played with. He is shy and will hide from his own reflection in a mirror. He fights sleep by screaming at the top of his lungs–he might miss something! He loves to stand, he love music, he hates the grass. He is an interesting and amazing blend of my husband and I. He is only a year old and he can’t talk, his vision is lousy, and he doesn’t even sit up without help. He is a dream come true. He can eat in any restaurant and rarely spoils an evening–a baby who seldom cries. He is a delight.

So worth it.

We have lot of appointments, but I don’t mind. Truthfully, I don’t know what other mothers do with their time. I NEVER feel put-out having to go to a doctor or therapist. I can be so insanely selfish, but these things are a given. They are easy. They are simple.

I have no idea if this ramble makes sense, but I hope my point is clear: Raising the imperfect child is wonderful. Once you get over the fear, the rest is easy. There may be doctors and there may be therapists. There may be moments of utter and complete helplessness. Without these, however, you would be missing out so much. Charlie’s soul is sweet and pure and uplifting. He delights in the smallest of things. I cannot imagine a world that doesn’t have him in it.

So very worth it.

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Comments

  1. Mommy07 says:

    I know our journey’s are different but you describe a lot of the feelings I was/am going through, especially about the feelings following your sons birth, and about subsequent pregnancies. I wish Charlie a very happy birthday!!! When Noah was in the NICU I kept focusing on his 1st birthday, it was this beacon of hope, like if I could just make it to 11/10/08 then things would be o.k. It’s been my focal point, and while I don’t want to rush his little life I do know that the one year mark is very symbolic for me.
    I look at future pregnancies as “healing” as well. Although I am very scared because my pregnancy and delivery with Noah was seemingly perfect and something (undiagnosed) either lack of oxygen at some point, infection, or something else was lurking- will it be lurking the next time??
    Anyhow- children are miracles and just like everyone else said, I am sure the stress and anxiety will be WELL worth it- especially with another cutie that looks like Charlie =)

  2. Nadine Hightower says:

    Amen Sister!! He is a good baby and making great strides!
    Hugs!!

  3. Shhhhh!! We’re supposed to be sad all the time and wish we had the perfect baby! Don’t let people know that we’re actually… *gasp* happy!

    I swear, my motto for the past 2 years has been “it’s not THAT bad.” Cuz really… it’s not.

  4. You are such a great mom and an inspiration to many that have to head down this highway. Hubby’s aunt in Down Syndrome and none of us can imagine life without her. She wasn’t supposed to make it to 2, but she is now 43.

    My sister was told when she was pregnant that her baby had downs. She didn’t care and would not to any further testing. She believes as you do (and I) that what God gives us, is meant to be. He was born healthy. I often wonder how many times women are told the same thing and have an abortion and yet the test was wrong as it was for my sister. It makes me so sad.

    I am so proud of you and glad that I have gotten to know you through blogging. I have sent a few people here that were struggling and I have seen their comments and know that you help them also.

  5. tonimcclung@hotmail.com says:

    Very well-put, wonderful entry.

  6. Anonymous says:

    very beautiful

  7. That was an awesome entry!

  8. Mannyed says:

    I’ve probably said this before but the fact that Charlie will be celebrating his first birthday soon really brings such joy to my heart (sorry that sounds so cliched) but I am so proud of him and so proud of you guys for doing every single possible for your son. I’m so proud of Charlie’s fighting skills and I love watching him grow. He is such a handsome and happy baby. I remember constantly checking your blog last June for updates and praying for Charlie and your family. Even when I went to a family wedding upstate, I logged on the hotel computer because I just wanted to make sure you lil boy was still fighting. It’s been quite a journey for us readers. Your entire family has shown so much courage that I can not help but me affected by it. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ll def be celebrating right along side of you guys in spirit.

  9. Princess Abigail in France.... says:

    I love your words.
    You echo all my thoughts
    Aren’t our kids just smashing?
    Thanks for a lovely post.
    Abigail’s Mama

  10. Tiffany says:

    I’m right there with you girl! When I choose to have my amnio it was to see if the baby had Trisomy 13 or 18… and if she did then we had to abort the pregnancy because those type of pregnancies just can’t survive out of the womb. There is no way I would of aborted my pregnancy if the baby had Down’s Syndrome. NO WAY! I don’t see how people can live with themselves because they don’t want that kind of responsibility or challenge.

    I love your posts!
    Hugs – Tiffany

  11. shoeaddict says:

    Beautiful post! I am not interested in the testing for myself. I know many people who have had it and have been told their child had down’s and were wrong.

    I think Charlie is very lucky to have such wonderful parents. I’m sure you feel very lucky to have Charlie.

    Congratulations to all of you for having each other, for your love of each other and for macaroni and cheese!

  12. Haz Bien says:

    Wow. That is such a beautiful entry.
    We know a family who has adopted several children with a variety of special needs, and for awhile, I couldn’t understand why on earth anyone would do that when you could have a healthy, normal child. Obviously their situation is a lot different from yours, but this post shed a lot of light on that, for me. There is a lot of joy in having children who require a little more of our attention, and I love what you said — once you get over the fear, the rest is a piece of cake.

  13. Very clear…you made me tear up a little. Charlie is so lucky.

  14. therextras says:

    I am very grateful for this post. Absolutely eloquent and inspirational. I got chills at “It is so worth it.”

    Happy Birthday to Charlie!

    I linked-to one of your posts in my post yesterday.

  15. As told by her mom, Sandy... says:

    Such a beautiful post and written so well.

    Thanks for posting this.

    He is worth it and I too feel the same way you do about my little on.

  16. As told by her mom, Sandy... says:

    Oh and we were told that doctors in France tell their patients to abort babies with conditions like Madeline’s. Nice, eh?

  17. You just know that I am going to say AMEN to this. Wholeheartedly.

    Thank you.

    B.

  18. Barbara says:

    So well said. Thank you for a beautiful post.

  19. Christine says:

    Katy,
    You described “raising the imperfect child.” I think you have the perfect Charlie. He is who God made him to be. Each and every one of is imperfect, so eventhe so-called “perfect child” isn’t really.

    Be blessed and kiss Charlie for me.

  20. Rural Felicity says:

    It IS worth it, isn’t it?! :) I am on a clubfoot board because my daughter also had clubfoot when she was born (no other anomalies). A parent just posted she was advised to abort, and it has put me in such a tizzy. Abort for a foot that is twisted and easily treated. So sad. :(

    When I decided to have testing while I was pregnant with G, it was because I knew something wasn’t right and needed to be addressed. I am SO thankful I was never offered the option to terminate. I was too far along when he was diagnosed for those words to be uttered, and I am so thankful for that.

    It is so sad that “perfection” or “normal” is so important in this society.

    Charlie is amazing and it’s so fun to read and see all the new things he’s learning and achieving.

  21. Beth Reynolds says:

    Thank you for your post. I feel the same way. My own Charlie is 9.5 months old and 22 lbs of drooly glee. He was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis via amnio when I was 5-months pregnant. I can’t imagine our lives without him.

  22. You are a great Mom and an inspiration to Mom’s everywhere.

  23. Anonymous says:

    So beautiful. If only they included words like yours in pregnancy and women’s health books, instead of treating a diagnosis as a label of hopelessness. I just read a book about this very issue called “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.” No one mentions the purity of spirit that these children usually possess.

  24. I stumbled on your blog by way of Erin (MO Mommy). What an excellent post! I have a 15-month old daughter with Down syndrome. I guess I’m part of the “awesome parent” group because we didn’t do any tests, just the regular ultrasounds because abortion was never an option. Emmaline surprised us at birth with DS and a hole in her heart, but I surprised myself with how much I love this little one. She melts my heart with her smiles, loves to cuddle, crawls everywhere, gets into everything, and makes friends whereever we go. It makes me so sad that so many people choose to end the lives of these precious gifts. It’s not always easy, but my world would be so meaningless without her (or her siblings). What a treasure God has entrusted us with! I’m so glad you feel the same way!