Warning: I am touching on a controversial topic. I am trying very hard to share my feelings but also be respectful.
One of the things I like to do is to monitor the “stats” of my blog- how many views, number of visitors, search terms, where people link my blog. It makes me feel heard. I am amazed seeing how far my blog reaches (hello South Africa, Montenegro and Finland!). And sometimes I stumble on other blogs I want to follow.
There is one site that links to my blog that I can’t see- it’s a closed group on baby center for those who have terminated a pregnancy for Down Syndrome. I cannot see what they’ve written about my blog, but I do know it falls under the heading ”the mom who chose to carry her t21 pregnancy to term and the result.” I am not here to pass judgment on women who choose to terminate and women who choose to continue- whether it be a baby with Down Syndrome or average chromosomes, whether she be a healthy baby or one that will be born sick, if even alive. I am not here to make anyone feel bad about the decisions they make. I recognize I cannot possibly understand other people’s circumstances, and so I support women in their own decisions about their bodies and their families.
But I hope no one reads this blog and thinks- well, that’s too hard, so I might as well save myself the heartache and just terminate.
This blog tells the story that not every pregnancy turns out the way you would think. Accepting a Down Syndrome diagnosis did not give me a take home baby. But choosing to terminate might have ended a pregnancy that would have ended in health.
People can terminate their pregnancy, whether it be complicated by Down Syndrome or not. That is there personal choice; I have my own personal views. There are things I would hope I would do in my own life when faced with certain circumstances. I also recognize I can’t know what decisions I would make until I am faced with them. However, my professional and political views are simple- support women throughout their life cycle, in whatever way they need.
If there were a woman in this online group who was my patient, I would care for her as gently as I would any other woman. In fact, I have cared for women who have terminated pregnancies with Down Syndrome. I want this group to know that their choice was hard, that I do not judge them.
Though I do want to share a few thoughts with these women. To the women of that group who have read my blog: Please do not use my baby’s story as justification. I don’t want Mabel to be anyone’s reason she uses in choosing to terminate her pregnancy. You had your reasons, and I am sure they were good ones. Since you are in an online support group for terminating, I can tell you are struggling with your decision. You were faced with two impossible choices: terminating a pregnancy and continuing one when you are unready. You made the best decision you could with the information you had at the time. But please leave Mabel out of it. I made the difficult choice to carry her and give her the chance, understanding my risk of losing her. She deserved every second of the six hours she lived. Despite my heartache, I would do it again, even knowing the outcome.