Monday, March 17, 2014

It's Not Just About the Future Moms

I finally clicked on that “Dear Future Mom” link that keeps popping up in my Facebook feed.

Yeah, it had me sobbing.  The variety of accents and languages was beautiful.  The message that it’s going to be hard, but it’s also going to be good, hit home.  But I’m still not interested in sharing that link on my Facebook page.

Because they weren’t making that video for me – the already-mom of a child with Down syndrome.  And they weren’t making that video for my son’s friends and acquaintances and teachers and family.  That video was aimed at the future-mom, the mom with the prenatal diagnosis, the mom who is deciding whether to keep her child or have an abortion.

A tear-jerking video aimed at mothers in one tiny little window – that space between hearing a diagnosis and making a decision.  That’s a very short-sighted look at what it means to bring a kid with Down syndrome into the world.  Like too much pro-life propaganda, it focuses too much on just getting the kid born.

I believe that the best way to help parents with prenatal diagnosis make their own, informed, decision is to fight for the inclusion of acceptance of people with all sorts of disabilities throughout their lives.

Because if you’ve known people with intellectual disabilities – if you’ve shared school rooms and workplaces and bus seats and conversations and friendships – well then of course you’re not going to decide to abort a baby with Down syndrome.  This decision doesn’t have to start and end with a mother’s surprise, grief, and guilt.  The decision to welcome people with Down syndrome into our communities starts long before conception and lasts throughout the child's life.