‘The up side of Down’

Indeed, the quickest way to find “Down syndrome” in most pregnancy books is to look up “abortion”; what message does that send to pregnant women?

Check out “The up side of Down.” Before we had Anna, a part of me was terrified of having a child with a grave disability of some kind; like any good Catholic, I made the conscious decision to leave that God’s hands and know that He would be with me no matter what. “Thy will be done,” at once one of my favorite and least favorite prayers.

Well, He was with me, and I wish Anna still were here with me too, even though her care was incredibly hard at times. Instead, she is with Him, waiting for me, which is better even though it’s sometimes hard to see.

Lives worth living.
Lives worth living.

I look back now and wonder: Why was I so afraid? Why am I afraid sometimes even now, even knowing what I know, with a new baby on the way?

Part of it, of course, is that we don’t like hard things, don’t like suffering, especially don’t want our children to suffer. We want them to live long, happy, healthy lives and then go to heaven. That’s natural and commendable and right.

But part of it is the steady stream of anti-life propaganda that says a hard life is a life not worth living, that people who are disabled are less than persons, that parents should not have to bear the “burden” of loving them and giving up the supposed “good things of life,” as though any material thing is better than a human person.

To all of which I say a hearty “bullshit.”

It is absolutely essential to counteract this propaganda with the truth that loving a special needs child is one of the most rewarding, blessed things I have ever done or ever will do, and I wouldn’t give back even the most agonizing second of it.

It’s essential, too, that we support and care for special needs children and their families socially, individually and in the Church, meeting their physical, emotional and spiritual needs, because when we care for the vulnerable, we care for Christ.


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