Chad Burnside, Hudsonville
I find it troubling that the SCOTUS is ruling on whether or not to allow termination of pregnancy based on a diagnosis of having Down syndrome. Some would argue that a child with Down syndrome would “suffer.”
Our child does not “suffer” with Down syndrome. He was created this way. “Knit together” this way. And, yes, “born this way.” I want you to know that he would not be the same individual that he is without having trisomy 21. Just like my wife, his big brother, and I would not be the same individuals we are without having him. To steal another popular title, “This is us!” This is our family as it stands. I happen to love our “us.”
Tonight, our child with Down syndrome was screaming his head off at bedtime. When I went to investigate, I discovered that he had somehow gotten two of his legs in one leg hole. Here I just thought he was fighting bedtime like any typical threenager. Problem corrected, quick sniff of the diaper (just in case), three songs—his favorite lullabies, of course—and he was lost in sweet dreams. I treasure our daddy/son time, especially because the big one is too heavy to hoist on my lap!
Furthermore, I honestly believe that we typical people ”suffer” more than he does. I don’t think he even suffers what you and I suffer. For example: unexplainable worry and fret, anxiety and guilt over past actions, and disappointment, just to name a few. I think he is missing the filter that stops people from loving one another. That is a gift, not a forbearance. The sooner that I realized that my son with Down syndrome was a gift, the same as any other life is a gift, the sooner I learned to appreciate my gift a whole lot more!
One final thought. My paternal grandfather died before I was born when he was in his late 50s. I believe my maternal grandfather died at age 40 the same year. Individuals with Down syndrome have a much higher life expectancy than they used to. Today, I think it’s about 63 years old. So, in all actuality, our son with Down syndrome could possibly outlive both of his Great Grandpas! That fact alone should make you want to support legislation that promotes life for children with Down syndrome. I hope you get to see his smile. It will brighten up your day!