Friday, December 25, 2009

Apparently, I'm a Pollyanna

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post originally appeared on Simeon's Trail on November 3, 2009. It is reproduced here with the author's permission. Click here to see this post in its original context (which may include accompanying photos), to view existing comments and to leave a comment of your own.

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Last week in the UK, news broke that women were experiencing more Down syndrome pregnancies, but fewer births. The increase in pregnancies were related to more women delaying childbearing. The decrease in births were related to "better" screening procedures with more terminations. In reading the articles related to these findings, I found myself reading the comments sections...again (when will I get a clue?).

Comments always seem to follow a pattern...someone comments that they had a distant relative with Ds and that person was a drain on the family, and then the siblings got stuck taking care of him. Someone else comments that it's irresponsible to condemn a child to a life of "suffering" and termination is a good alternative. Then, a parent of a child with Ds will chime in and correct some misinformation which has been spouted and communicate what a joy their daughter is and how children with Ds are more "normal" than not, etc.

There will be a lot of comments following in the above vein, until someone comes on to accuse all the parents who are being positive of lying. That anyone who claims that raising a child with Ds isn't a horrible experience is delusional and a pollyanna. (I've read the original story of Pollyanna. Since when did finding the silver-lining become a bad thing?)

I recently heard something similar from a woman who is considering terminating her pregnancy because of T21. She said that the advocacy groups only post the positive and she could practically see "the cute little bunnies hopping across the page". She was asking those who have already terminated what it was really like to have a baby with Down syndrome. Um, seriously? I don't think they know...they aborted.

Why can't the critics believe the people who have been there, done that? Maybe having a child with Down syndrome is a positive thing. Why is it so hard to believe that we really love our children, that we are proud of them, that we have learned from them, and that our lives with them are normal? Why is the burden of proof on us, for crying out loud. And, why on earth would they think we have reason to lie about it?

Leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I have got to learn to stay away from the comments section!