Recap: A mother-to-be is told that her baby has markers for Down syndrome, indicated by an amniocentesis. She struggles with the decision of whether to keep the pregnancy.

The Best Gift

Congratulations on your baby, Lauren! I am sitting here watching my own chromosomally enhanced, almost-18-year-old daughter dancing up a storm with her Wii game.

I wish I could give you a sense of the pure joy she has been to our family all these years. I was 42 and my husband 44 when she was born. I did not have a prenatal diagnosis, and we were devastated. All I can say is thank goodness I did not have the ability to alter the course of events.

We always say she is the best gift we ever got — one we didn’t even know we needed.

Hopefully you have found Kelle Hampton’s book and blog. Good luck!
— Kathi Pinto, proud mom who aptly named our child Lizzy Joy

 

It’s Your Choice, But a Child Is a Gift

First, congratulations on your pregnancy. So many friends of mine never had the opportunity you have of carrying a life. It’s a wondrous thing.

Yes, you have a choice, as does your husband. You will both be parenting a child who will have challenges. You must be a team, or it won’t work — whatever you decide.

Yes, G-d entrusted you with this child, but you have free will. I always told my husband that, if faced with this choice, I would abort. However, after last year and many personal losses, I no longer feel this way.

A child is a gift, regardless of his abilities or packaging. I am the lucky mother of two daughters with learning challenges. We have faced them head-on and have become stronger and oh-so-much wiser because of them.

Yes, I have cried too many times to count. But the rewards have been so great. My view of life is different. I smile and laugh out loud more. I appreciate the smallest things.

Listen to your heart and trust in your marriage. Courage, humor and patience will be your friends. Faith will be your guiding light.

Whatever your outcome, your true friends will support you when you choose to let them in. Please, count me among them.

Be well.

— EBG

Mountain Climbing

I wish I could reach out through my computer keys and wrap you in a hug. You are normal and healthy to be beset by doubts, devastation and sadness. You had dreams, dreams of raising a healthy child who would set out to make his mark on the world.

Now, instead, you may be saddled by myriad medical needs and crises, strapped to a needy being who may never gain independence. Not exactly what you signed up for.

But, Lauren, if G-d is gifting you (and testing you) with a special child, you have another choice. After grieving the loss of your dreams, you can embrace this challenge. Like a mountain climber, you can gear up with the necessary equipment and hike to the crest.

Have you ever seen the scenery at a mountain peak? The indescribable beauty is what propels so many to make the climb.

May G-d bless you, your husband and your unborn child. In the words of the traditional blessing upon a baby’s birth, “May you merit to raise him l’Torah l’chuppah ul’ma’asim tovim (to Torah, to the wedding canopy and to do good deeds).”

— Esther Ostro

Shared Spirit is a column in which people write in to share personal dilemmas. Readers are encouraged to assist by offering meaningful advice.