In Defense of Downs

With wide eyes, she sat there trying to digest the news her doctor had just delivered.
Her baby boy would probably be born with Down Syndrome.
At 22-years-old, she found herself in that cold, sterile hospital room racking her brain:
would she be adept at handling a child with a severe disability…
I recently read a report, which sought to call attention to the issues with the new non-invasive prenatal screening tests for Down Syndrome and other conditions.
At the forefront of problems with these tests is the overselling of their accuracy.
This article led me to another regarding the invasive procedure, or amniocentesis, which allows doctors to analyze cells from amniotic fluid.
That article then lead me to countless others explaining that upwards of 90% of women who discover they’re pregnant with a fetus that tests positive for Down Syndrome abort.
There is debate over the exact accuracy of those statistics.
Irregardless, it is safe to say most women who find themselves in a position similar to that of the 22-year-old I mentioned choose to have an abortion.

I could launch into a pro-life, religious, personal, and political rant about abortion.
But instead, I want to tell you a story about a boy I had a standing date with
every Friday morning this past semester.
He is the world’s most handsome blonde haired, blue eyed three-year-old.
He gives the best hugs you’ll ever receive.
He also moves at the speed of light.
He comes alive at the sound of music,
And dances like no other.
His name is Fitts & he has Down Syndrome.

One hour with him is the most compelling case that can be made regarding the intrinsic value of the lives of children with disabilities.
There is not a room Fitts enters that is not illuminated.
He daily challenges our cultural idea of “perfection,”
by proving that differences are beautiful, relatable, and real.
He is a constant reminder of the Gospel’s message of unconditional love.
His developmental milestones may look different,
but I assure you that I no more rejoiced over his increased use of sign language
than I will when my own child learns to read.
Fitts’ life splashes an array of color all over our dark world.

As it turns out, that 22-year-old woman bravely chose to give her child life,
staring a sea of unknowns and fears in the face.
That woman was my hero, my mom,
and her “baby boy who would probably have Down Syndrome,”
was me.
Obviously the doctors were wrong on two accounts.

I won’t ever be able to articulate the deepest gratitude I have for her decision,
for the gift of this messy, joyous, painful, and abundant life.
Yet I am just as grateful for Fitts’ life, for Brett Hampton’s life, and for every other child like them.
Each and every one are invaluable and bring something to this world that we desperately need.
So may we forever celebrate the color, the richness, and the depth that their very existence holds.



3 thoughts on “In Defense of Downs

  1. completely stumbled upon this post by chance today when looking for a scripture quote I wanted to share via pinterest.. I double clicked on accident and scrolled down to this post. My husband and I are pregnant now & have been undergoing additional ultrasounds + tests due to having a couple of soft markers for downs or potentially something else. There have been so many unknowns, but I rest in the fact that doctors are simply trying to predict the outcome of a masterpiece half completed that only GOD knows the outcome of. Something about this totally spoke to my spirit & I wanted to thank you for sharing ❤

    1. Lindsey,
      Wish I could reach across the screen and hug your brave self.
      It’s more humbling than you know that these words could have been any source of encouragement to you. I truly see that as God’s grace. He is going before you in all of this and you are absoutely right… He knows the outcome!
      I’m praying for you and your husband!!! Hold tight to His promises and ENJOY this season.

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