​What If... It Had Been A Downs Syndrome Baby?

14/08/2014 16:50 | Updated 22 May 2015

​What if... it had been a Downs syndrome baby?

I've just found out a friend, who is 19 weeks pregnant, has received much anticipated great news. Her amnio result is negative. She was given a 1: 22 chance of her baby having Downs syndrome.

It has been a period of waiting ever since she found out she was pregnant. After waiting for her 12 week scan, with complete trepidation that there might be more than one baby (she was on Clomid), she then had to wait the further time frame for the amnio due to the high risk, and then another week for the result.

No matter what degree of severity, she would have chosen to take drugs to stimulate labour and terminate the pregnancy; the baby. A much longed for sibling of an about to turn five-year-old sister.

I could only imagine the internal battle my friend was having - her head saying don't connect with this baby - it may not be for keeps. Her heart telling her not to listen to such nonsense, to bond with the babe within. And with all her motherly might.

But what's right and what's wrong? Are you purely stuck in a place of damned if you do and damned if you don't? I can just about understand why she would have terminated. I think. I may even have done the self same thing. But who knows? How can I know, without being in the position of carrying a baby that potentially has Downs syndrome? Thankfully I don't have to make this choice.

I do wonder this though? If you choose to terminate, could you live with yourself afterwards? Would your sleep not be plagued with overwhelming loss and grief; your conscious left struggling forever.

I wonder how you'd manage to continue to carry a Downs baby without becoming so overwhelmed by the thought of it having a potentially life changing disability. And a disability which might have a knock-on effect for all the family. A father already in his fifties. Mother in her forties - as is quite the norm today. Who would be left to look after this person? The sister? What sort of life is that for her? But then, how could you decide to abort? What gives you that right?

When I trained as a nursery nurse, my absolute best ever all time favourite work placement was in a special needs nursery. I bonded with one little Downs girl in particular. I will never forget the joy she brought me, a then 17-year-old student, training on the job.

Downs syndrome children have weak chests and are prone to all manner of bronchial illness. They are also incredibly affectionate. This little one had a bad cold, the sort where permanent train tracks of snot conjoin nose and mouth. Her glasses were skewed; barely on. Her knotted hair wild. Her smile massive. She was deaf.

But as I hammered on the floor in front of the tunnel that she motored through, she felt the vibration. She looked up at me. Her smile enlarged. The gap between us closed. She reached me. She threw herself upon me. Laughing. Hugging. Holding me close. She pulled her head back to look into my eyes. To check I laughed too. As she did so, the spaghetti string of snot, stretched out bridging the two of us. Her world, her silent world, was loud, noisy and full to the brim with happiness. As I have no doubt was the very same world of her selfless parents?

I'm full-time mum, freelance writer and blogger - but mainly full-time mum! LIFE AS IT IS aka the GraceFaith blog, shares thought-provoking, emotive, funny tales depicting the minutiae of life today, before and hopefully thereafter!

Blogs at: Life As It Is

Twitter: @1grace1faith


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