The mother of a daughter with Down Syndrome recently published a copy of the heart wrenching letter she sent to the doctor who advised her to abort the child who has become the joy of her family.
Kat Abianak, writing for the Parker Myles blog, is reporting on the story of Courtney Baker whose daughter Emersyn was born with Down Syndrome. At the time of her pregnancy, the young mother of three was in the care of a doctor who took one look at the sonogram, saw that the child had Down Syndrome, and immediately advised her to abort the baby.
“ . . . He repeatedly suggested we abort. He said her and our quality of life would be horrible,” Courtney said. “He was so unbelievably wrong.”
She feels so strongly about how the doctor treated her and her unborn child that she is determined to advocate for children with special needs and is beginning her crusade by publishing a copy of the very moving letter she sent to the doctor last month.
The letter reads as follows:
A friend recently told me of when her prenatal specialist would see her child during her sonograms, he would comment, “He’s perfect.” Once her son was born with Down syndrome, she visited that same doctor. He looked at her little boy and said, “I told you. He’s perfect.”
Her story tore me apart. While I was so grateful for my friend’s experience, it filled me with such sorrow because of what I should have had. I wish you would have been that doctor.
I came to you during the most difficult time in my life. I was terrified, anxious and in complete despair. I didn’t know the truth yet about my baby, and that’s what I desperately needed from you. But instead of support and encouragement, you suggested we terminate our child. I told you her name, and you asked us again if we understood how low our quality of life would be with a child with Down syndrome. You suggested we reconsider our decision to continue the pregnancy.
From that first visit, we dreaded our appointments. The most difficult time in my life was made nearly unbearable because you never told me the truth.
My child was perfect.
I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’m really just sad. I’m sad the tiny beating hearts you see every day don’t fill you with a perpetual awe. I’m sad the intricate details and the miracle of those sweet little fingers and toes, lungs and eyes and ears don’t always give you pause. I’m sad you were so very wrong to say a baby with Down syndrome would decrease our quality of life. And I’m heartbroken you might have said that to a mommy even today. But I’m mostly sad you’ll never have the privilege of knowing my daughter, Emersyn.
Because, you see, Emersyn has not only added to our quality of life, she’s touched the hearts of thousands. She’s given us a purpose and a joy that is impossible to express. She’s given us bigger smiles, more laughter and sweeter kisses than we’ve ever known. She’s opened our eyes to true beauty and pure love.
So my prayer is that no other mommy will have to go through what I did. My prayer is that you, too, will now see true beauty and pure love with every sonogram.
And my prayer is when you see that next baby with Down syndrome lovingly tucked in her mother’s womb, you will look at that mommy and see me then tell her the truth: “Your child is perfect.”
Emersyn has two siblings – Rhyan who is almost 15 and Evynn who is 11.
“They are crazy about their sister!” Courtney said. “They had been through so much at that point [when we received the diagnosis]. We tried to be honest with them while keeping strong in our faith, but they knew about our pain and struggles with the specialist. When they heard that her diagnosis was confirmed at her birth, they were afraid.”
It was a frightening ordeal for everyone, especially when Emersyn was taken from her mother immediately after birth because of her low oxygen levels. As a result, Courtney and her two daughters were together when they met Emersyn for the first time.
“It was such a surreal moment after all that time of fear and heartache. She was there and she was ours.”
Rhyan and Evynn took one look at their new little sister and fell instantly in love.
“And it was obvious,” Courtney said. “A lot of healing happened at that moment. We never looked back to the fear and sadness, it’s been onward in the smiles and joy. Rhyan is the calm, quiet, motherly refuge for Emmy. Evynn is the wild, fun, cracking up laughter for her. They are a perfect trio.”
Recent studies have found that up to 67 percent of babies diagnosed prenatally with Down Syndrome in the U.S. are aborted. The practice of aborting Down Syndrome babies has become prevalent enough to have reduced the population of persons with Down Syndrome by 30 percent.
“Whatever the statistical realities may be, the number of those who choose abortion after a prenatal diagnosis is far too high. It should be none,” writes Mark Bradford, president of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA.
“To paraphrase the recently deceased disabilities rights activist, Dr. Adrienne Asch, the only thing prenatal diagnosis can provide is a first impression of who a child will be. Making such a radical decision as to end the life of a child based upon a first impression is a most horrible and violent form of discrimination. It has no place in an American society that is committed to ending discrimination in any form . . .”
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