The Beautiful Difference

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Our son had been home, from the hospital, a few weeks when one day he was sleeping in his swing.  My other children were napping and watching a movie, which gave me a few rare moments to myself.  I sat down in my comfy chair and logged onto a Down syndrome Facebook group.  I was scrolling through the posts when I stopped at a question posted by one member.  She asked this, “I just read that over 90% of babies, who are diagnosed, in utero, with Down syndrome, are aborted.  Is this true? Please tell me this is not true”.  I felt my heart skip a beat when I read this question.  I quickly clicked on the comments and started reading through peoples responses.  Overwhelmingly people said, yes it is true.  A few people said the statistics weren’t exactly correct, that it was estimated to be between 75-93%.  I looked at my precious baby boy sleeping in the swing, and I cried.  We saw our son as a blessing, even with his surprise diagnosis, at three weeks of age.  To us he was the greatest gift.

It is perplexing to me that in life we praise some for being different while disposing of others who are different.  One can hardly turn on the TV or read a magazine without hearing about Bruce Jenner (now known as Caitlyn).  He is hailed a role model and is celebrated for his courage and bravery.  He is declared a hero.  He is different and his difference is celebrated.

Then there is my son, Hagen.  Hagen is different because has one more chromosome than typical people have.  Every year thousands of babies are aborted, just because of this…they too have one extra chromosome.  They too are different.  Down syndrome can be diagnosed, by a simple blood test, when the mother is just nine weeks pregnant.  I have met and talked with people who got a diagnoses and were told by their provider, friends and family to abort.  They were told things like this; just abort and try for a “normal” baby.  Don’t let yourself be bogged down with raising a special needs child.  Why are these babies not hailed heroes, celebrated and called courageous and brave? Why are their differences seen as inconvenient instead of beautiful? Yes, some people do.  The parents of these precious children know.  We know that our kids are extra special.  We know that our kids work so hard to do things that come easier to other kids, who have one less chromosome than them.  We know our kids are brave.  We know that our kids have a joy and happiness about them that we wish we had. We know that 99% of people, who have Down syndrome say they are happy.   We know that we would not change our kids, for all the money in the world.  Mostly, we know we are blessed to be their parents.

What I wish is, like Bruce Jenner, the world would see our kids’s differences in a beautiful way.  I wish that even though they have something so small, as one extra chromosome, their lives would still be valued and celebrated and wanted.  Most of all I wish that all babies, with an extra chromosome, were given a chance to live and show the world how truly amazing they are.