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What If My Baby Has Down Syndrome?

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On the one hand, I don't know if I could be the mother of a baby with Down syndrome. On the other hand, can I be a mother who terminates a pregnancy?

Pregnant woman

Guestblogger Mommy2b: Being pregnant with my first baby in my later thirties has been an experience filled with fear. One, because with my age (37) comes an increase in genetic abnormalities, miscarriage and health issues like Down syndrome. Two, because I have already suffered two miscarriages, both after the first trimester.

Rather than my doctor's visits being filled with excitement and joy to see my baby's heart beating on the ultrasound screen, they have been tainted with anxiety. Last week, I asked the technician to turn the screen away from me. She replied "Really? You are the first person to ever ask me that." "I'm scared," I said. "That something is wrong, that the heartbeat stopped without me knowing it." I always hold my breath until she nods the OK.

And now this: I have to decide whether or not I will have the procedure which tests for genetic abnormalities in the first trimester (the CVS test). Most people who do this test are prepared to terminate a pregnancy if the results come back positive for Down syndrome. I don't know what to do. Because I have had two miscarriages I want to know if something is wrong with the baby ... but what if something IS wrong? Can I be the mother of a baby with Down syndrome? Can I be a mother who terminates?

I have spoken to girlfriends who have gone through similar situations. They are all on different pages: Several have no problem terminating a pregnancy and firmly stated: "that would be no life for you or a child." Others are absolutely opposed to testing AND termination: "This is a gift from God ... you will love the baby so much -- no matter what."

Which mom am I? If I make either decision, will I regret it? If I keep the baby, will I wish I didn't? Will life be too hard? Will my child and my family suffer? If I terminate the pregnancy, will I forever regret it, and wonder if I could have made a good life for my baby? Will I feel selfish and guilty?


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107 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous July 4, 2009, 2:38 PM

My husband and I recently received the news that our unborn 13 week old baby has a 1 in 9 chance or higher of having down’s syndrome. We have been devastated about this, and have been discussing what to do for days. In 2 days we are having a CVS, and if the results come back as positive for down’s, we will terminate this pregnancy. My husband lived his entire life with a sister with developmental disabilities and it has almost destroyed his family. He himself has hearing and bone problems, and just those minor disabilities have been rough on him throughout his life…constantly being made fun of, etc. Over 80% of marriages dissolve after having a child with disabilities. You people may be righteous, but there is a reason 90% of people terminate pregnancies after finding out this news. Maybe you can live with a child with this disorder, but many cannot. Congrats on being able to do so. I personally would not be able to deal with something like this, and will terminate this pregnancy if the CVS testing is positive.

Vanessa November 9, 2009, 5:37 PM

of course dont terminate the baby’s life. Many people have been told that their baby is going to come out with a deformaty or a diease and most of the time the doctors are wrong. And seriously a baby with down syndrome is like WOW! thats the best you could ever get. THose kids are such little angels. they are so inocccent and such a blessing.

Dana November 16, 2009, 5:17 PM

I have a 4 month old little boy who we didn’t know had Down’s Syndrome until after he was born. I was only 27 so it didn’t even cross my mind. I didn’t have the tests as I knew I wouldn’t terminate. I PERSONALLY believe who are we to say “you do not live up to my standards therefore you must die”. I guess when someone gets old and can no longer care for themselves we should shoot them…just my opinion. I have to say though…I was devastated…now….I am absolutely in love with this little boy and couldn’t imagine my life with out him!!!!!!!

Stephanie March 23, 2010, 8:54 PM

I don’t understand why anyone would terminate a child simply because he has Down Syndrome. I have a 3 year old daughter who is perfectly healthy and a 7 month old son that was born with Down Syndrome and I am 27 years old. I did not test for it while I was pregnant because it did not matter. God gave me this child because he wanted me to have him and I will do whatever it takes to make sure he has every opportunity to succeed. My daughter and son are both blessings and people with down syndrome deserve to live just like the rest of us.

Anonymous June 8, 2010, 5:06 AM

I love all the comments that others have shared. I also like to say my baby may have down syndrome an Iam at high risk. But I knew when they first said that the baby maybe at risk I was sacred an a little bit of I don’t known what to do only 26 years old 2 kids good health girls. I don’t know if theres something wrong with me or is this just ment to be but God knows an I will have my faith in him an pray that everything is alright. an even if my unborn child has down syndrome I know that God’s going to be there always

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