Q&A: Will I Ever Recover from the Guilt?

Posted on Posted in Q&A, Stories, Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome)

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QUESTION

Will I Ever Recover from the Guilt?
Avoid those who seek to validate their own choices by pressuring you to do the same—regardless of what choice they’ve made.

I just had an amnio. I am only 16 weeks along. They had a tough time seeing a lot with the level 2 ultrasound but did say the baby is missing the third bones on the pinky fingers, which is a soft marker for Down syndrome.

We chose to have the amnio so we could terminate the pregnancy if there was a problem. Now we’re facing the very real possibility of having to make a very tough decision in the next week or so. We are devastated. I feel upset and guilty. I feel like a terrible person for considering terminating a pregnancy we tried so hard to conceive, and because there are so many people out there with special needs. I feel evil for not wanting to raise one.

I am so scared. If I go through with this will I ever recover from the guilt?

ANSWER

First, take a deep breath. You do not have your amnio results back yet. One step at a time.

In our experience with parents coming to this site, we find that those who carefully examine all of their options and reach an informed decision tend to weather their grief and come to terms with their loss more readily than those who jump to a decision or allow themselves to be pressured by others.

If you feel that ending a pregnancy following a Down syndrome diagnosis would make you an evil, terrible person and that you’d never recover from the guilt, we encourage you to carefully examine your option to continue the pregnancy. A simple Google search will open a world of support and information for families raising children with Down syndrome. There are many glowing blogs and active discussion boards on the subject where you can glimpse into the lives of families raising a children with Trisomy 21.

Be aware that disability sites, discussion boards and blogs rarely take a neutral stance in these matters—it’s not their role. Just as we’re here to support those who’ve already decided to end a pregnancy, they’re there to support families raising children with special needs. Most of those sites are managed by very reasonable people, but unfortunately a tiny minority of zealots have been known to hound expectant mothers with a poor prenatal diagnosis. When researching or seeking support, take care not to share your name or location in case you stumble across someone with an agenda. Avoid those who seek to validate their own choices by pressuring you to do the same—regardless of what choice they’ve made.

When you visit disability sites, be extra sensitive to and considerate of those raising children with special needs. No one likes to hear that their child’s life and future isn’t what you’d want for your own baby.

The decision to end a pregnancy for any reason is an intensely personal one. We are averse to saying anything that will sway parents who are still in the throes of decision making. After all, they are the ones who will live everyday with the realities of either decision.

Here’s hoping your amnio comes back clear.

 

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