Do you know what you would do?

United States
April 23, 2007 12:13am CST
I have a close friend, who is over the age of 40. She has 7 children. They range in age from 21 to 1. For her last two children she had to do fertility treatments, and even IVF I believe. She was not planning on becoming pregnant again, and in fact felt that without a doctor's assistance wouldn't be able to. However, she did become pregnant. About three weeks ago, she went in for a routine ultrasound to get a baby profile, which is, from what I understand, standard practice with her OB for mother's of "advanced maternal age". The found markers, three of them, to possibly indicate Down's Syndrome. They ordered a CVS test, which is as accurate as an amnio, but from what I understand has less chance of a miscarriage. The test results came back (2 full weeks later) indicating that her baby does indeed have Downs. There are many people telling her that God will not give her what she can't handle and that her child has a special place in this world and purpose and all of that. I, however, am not saying that at all. I am the mother of a higly special needs child. My son has a whole plethora of disorders, none of which can be tested for before birth, and don't really make themselves known until he is much closer to the age of 2. If they could do a test for a child like my son, and had I found out in advance that he was the way he is, I know that I would be as torn up as my friend over ending my pregnancy or not. She has a teenage son who is having a great deal of difficulty in life right now, and she has her younger children too. A child with moderate to severe Down's (which from what I understand is what this child would most likely have) would be a huge burden to this family. And I use the word burden because I truly don't believe that any child with a special need is a blessing. And before you go cutting my head off and sending me hate mail, think about (and only the parents of special needs children can voice in on their experiences here, if you don't have one you DON'T know, that simple)all the time and extra effort that child requires of you. What about your other children, if you have them? How often do their needs get set aside because you are trying to care for, in one way or another, your special needs child? Yes, I am sure that you are a stronger person for having your child, however, if you could, would you change it? Don't pass judgement on my friend, however what would you do in a similar situation? If they could test for ADD/ADHD, Autism, Apserger's, or any behavior or sensory disorder, what would you do? What about the things that you do test for? I will say, that because of my older son, I didn't have the "optional" testing for disorders done, I am also just going on 30, so they are still optional for me. And I won't for our next child. Having been the parent of my son, I know that ANY child after him would be a cake walk compared to him. But that is my choice, and I don't pass judgement on my friend if she does choose to end her pregnancy. And I understand her point of view too. What would you do? Don't just automatically say no, think about it, think about all the child would require of you, and all that child would give back to you. And then answer.
3 people like this
5 responses
@Dana5881 (609)
• United States
24 Apr 07
Well I will tell you that I did end a very much planned and wanted pregnancy because of a genetic disorder that causes mental retardation. I already have a son affected by this (Fragile X) and he was not diagnosed until he was 2 and having delays. When I got pregnant again I was told I could do the test in the 1st trimester and find out if that baby had it and sure enough he did and we chose to end the pregnancy because we felt that having 2 children with special needs would be too much for us and would take away from what we offer our son now in terms of therapies and such. I hope I don't get flamed for this. It was the hardest choice of my life and I would have done anything to have the test come back normal.
• United States
24 Apr 07
That was a very difficult decision that you made, and I offer you prayers and blessings. I understand why you did however. And what you say makes sense. Thank you.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Apr 07
She needs to be thinking about these things before she gets pregnant.
2 people like this
• United States
24 Apr 07
I'd like to simply point out that she didn't believe that she could become pregnant without the assistance of a doctor, and I believe that she was told as much. And for you to say that she needs to think of these things before she becomes pregnant doesn't answer the question of what would YOU do?
1 person likes this
@SheliaLee (2738)
• United States
24 Apr 07
I'm definitely not going to pass judgement on anybody because any decision that your friend makes or any other person who reads and responds to this discussion is between them and God and nobody else. I will say, though, that I have a son with autism. His is a mild case but it is autism nonetheless. Has it been hard? Yes in some ways it has. We are still having to learn to deal with a lot of things even though my son is now 14 years old. Would I have another child? If possible, yes I would. That isn't possible now because I have had a hysterectomy. But if I had not had that surgery and had become pregnant again and found out that child had the same problem, yes I would still have the child. But this is me, and again, please know that I am not judging in any way. You asked for people to respond who have children in this type of situation and that is why I felt the need to speak up. I pray for your friend and hope that whatever decision she comes to she will be at peace about it.
• United States
24 Apr 07
I know you aren't judging, I understand that. I have an older child who has SID-ASD, among other things, and I have 2 younger children than him, and my husband and I are planning to have one more child. My son is his own person, and we are trying to so hard to teach him and get through to him and guide him so that he'll grow to be successful as an adult. I understand the challenges in raising a special needs child. I feel for my friend because I know how rewarding and how trying special needs children are. Thank you.
1 person likes this
@lalav1 (1056)
• United States
23 Apr 07
I certainly would not want to be faced with that decision. My self, never having had children and knowing some retarded children that have become highly functional and are very loving, I might go ahead with the birth. Doctors are not always right, lots of times! I would have to take into consideration the financial strain, if I was single or married and if I knew of a preschool for special children. There would be so many factors in determining your decision and I believe it's each individual's decision. I might try babysitting someone's child to find out what they really go through. It would be exhausting if you were single and working, or staying home dealing with the child by yourself, (with no help from family or friends). If you were married or single and had other children it would be really hard too. It would also depend on my age. There are so many different circumstances I would not judge anyone for whatever decision they made.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Apr 07
Babysitting a child on occassion can not really give you an idea of what it would be like to care for a special needs child full time. And I really hate the term retarded. I have a son that is special needs, and he is far from retarded, as most children are. It is each individual's decision.
1 person likes this
@4cuteboys (4102)
• United States
24 Apr 07
That is a tough decision-especially being in her shoes. However when we got pregnant this time around (last and number 5) I declined any triple screen tests that are the first "glimpse" of if your child may have any of those disorders. We agreed when we found out I was pregnant that we would carry to term and keep the child reguardless of any birth defects/chrmosonal problems ect. That was just our personal choice. I wouldn't do it, but I dont shun other people that do. Everyone needs to make the right choice for themselves and their family situations.