Let's imagine a scenario: A young mother learns her fetus has Down syndrome.
When you believe that abortion is always wrong, then you believe that every baby born with all sorts of medical and developmental challenges should be given a chance at life. So in our scenario, this mother does not choose abortion and wants to have her baby with Down syndrome regardless.
While I didn't know my daughter had Down syndrome when I was pregnant, it would not have mattered to me. I believe the world we live in is full of diseases and conditions that God never intended for anyone to have. Yet, the world is full of evil and bad things because the world is not heaven-it's not perfect. Perfect souls are born in bodies that are imperfect. Who am I to say whose life is or is not "worthy"?
Now, let's think more about that young mother after she delivers a baby with Down syndrome. Let's further pretend she is a Christian, church going person and has supportive friends and family.
Now, imagine the reactions to the mother, who was supported to choose life for her baby while pregnant, when she settles in to life back home in her community and church. You might think everyone is happy and positive. You might be a person who provides such encouragement.
But let me tell you what really happens when you give birth to a baby with a disability and medical complications.
-There are many more people who say "I'm sorry" or nothing at all than "Congratulations!" upon the birth. Why is that?
-There are looks of pity or sadness from people who hear the news or see your child for the first time. Where does this attitude come from?
-There are people in church who insist your child must be healed or delivered from this problem. These people may start prayer chains and put the baby's name on every known prayer list. What message is that sending?
-There are people in the church who will ask the parents if they sinned causing this child to be born like this. Think this doesn't happen? Think again! It happened to my husband and I more than once! And what underlying tone is sent with that message?
I find it very confusing that people who are pro-life for prenatally diagnosed babies before they are born don't seem to have good feelings and expectations after the baby is born. It seems there is an attitude where anything outside the realm of typical is considered undesirable, even among Christians.
Yes, I believe in prayer. Yes, I believe in healing. But, how can the church reach those with disabilities if we are viewing them as people who are only in need of something (prayer, healing) and not people who can give something (love, happiness)?
We need more people who are pro-life champions for those with disabilities throughout a life-span-not just in utero! If we really believed, every life is worth something and a soul that matters, then we would NOT say things like:
-I'm sorry your baby was born with ________.
-I don't care what gender our baby is as long as it's healthy.
-Maybe you miscarried your baby because something was wrong with the baby. You wouldn't want that would you?
Instead we would say things like:
-I know it's going to be hard because your baby was born with ____ but your baby is a life with worth. I'm here to help you.
-Congratulations on your baby.
-I'm blessed to be pregnant and blessed to have any child.
-I am sorry you had a miscarriage. How can I help?
So I challenge those of you who are pro-life. How can you do better? What attitudes to do you need to reexamine to support pro-life throughout a person's life?
This post is for Down syndrome Awareness Month where bloggers write for all 31 days of October for Trisomy 21. I am part of this 31 for 21 challenge. During the month of October, the NDSS asks that we celebrate people with Down syndrome and make others aware of abilities and accomplishments. Individuals with Down syndrome have abilities that need to be celebrated!