8 October 2012


I walked in on a conversation at work the other day.

guy 1: ...but I mean, it's not only you.  After you die, their siblings would have to take care of the kid, all their lives.  Wouldn't it just be better for everyone if...y'know?

guy 2:  There's bear.  Bear, what would you do? 

Me: About what?

Guy 1:  If you knew you were pregnant with a kid who had Downs syndrome, what would you do?

Me:  If I found out I was pregnant... I would call Guinness.

Guy 2:  Laughing.  That's not what we mean.  Would you...

Me:  When Puff was pregnant with Frodo, I had more than a few people tell me I should convince her to have an abortion.

Guy 1:  Really?

Me.  Yeah.  Because of our age, the risk is pretty high. And some think that white trash people in their forties like us just shouldn't have kids.

Guy1:  But what if he did have Downs Syndrome?

Me: Then I would have had a special needs kid, and I would have done my best to take care of him.  And I would expect his sisters to help him after I was gone, because that's what families do.  I couldn't look myself in the mirror if I did otherwise.

Guy 1:  Why not?  Wouldn't it just be easier...

Me: I am a father, and fathers are supposed to sacrifice themselves for their children.  If I were walking down a street or a through a forest with them, and we ran into a man with a gun, or a bear, it would be my job to face bullet and claw so they might have a chance to escape.  If I were on the Titanic, and there was enough room for all but one of us on the lifeboat, it would be my job to sit them down, and cheerfully tell them not to worry, I'll be on the next boat, and then hopefully find a priest and confess that my last words to my kids was a lie.  Or if we were at war, it's my job to give up my freedom and possibly my life and take up uniform and arms and walk in the dark places of the earth, that my children may live in the sunshine, free and safe.  Kill my children to make my life easier?  No.  That I will not do.

The two of them were just staring at me as I left the room.  I imagine Guy 1 thought me insane.  Guy 2 came after me and we spoke a little more.  He knows a few children with Downs, and he finds them to be happy.  He also knows that you can have a perfectly normal kid, and they go bad, with drugs and such.  "So you never know, right?" He'll be getting married soon, and he and his bride to be want to have kids.  Guy 1 is already married, about fifteen years or so, with one child.  I can't help but think that kid is lucky.

1 comment:

Patience said...

My older dd (same age as your elder) had some significant developmental delays (which wouldn't have shown up in an amnio anyway for what it's worth) Around age 4 when we figured this out; my MIL said "wouldn't it just be easier to put her in an institution now?" (yes there are still people out there like that) At 17; dd still has some challenges (like intellectually she's off the charts but emotionally she's more like age 13) but she'll eventually progress and she's a really sweet person. (and she did manage to get into an arts high school that only offered admission by audition) Dh's brother's kids were "normal" (whatever that means) but as teen/ya's are pretty wild; raised without any religious belief and have their own issues. My longwinded point it that for the most part; you can't tell what the future will hold and you can't make assumptions about making life "easier" because what looks "easy" may become hard and vice versa.