Two months ago, I Iistened intently to an interview discussing the ethics of eugenic abortion. I was initially saddened when the television anchor questioned why one would want a family to have to have a child with a severe disability. However, I was immediately reminded of my own anger and ignorance when my husband and I learned we were going to have a child with Down syndrome.
One of my dreams-come-true is being a wife and mama. It’s been the best part of my life, pouring my heart into our family. We always prayed for our children that they would be perfect and healthy, and though it pains me to say, I begged God every day, “Please don’t let me have a child with special needs; please don’t let me have a child with Down syndrome.”
I wanted and thought I deserved my version of a perfect, problem-free life. So when we learned during my fifth month of pregnancy that Belinda was a child with Down syndrome, I felt betrayed by God and so afraid! “Lord, I asked you for a healthy baby, and You didn’t obey me.” (Isn’t that what we think sometimes when we don’t get what we want?)
But because of His great grace, patience, and mercy, I can imagine the Lord was saying, “Verity, I’m going to change your heart. I choose you to be her mama, and I choose this family to love her. I’ll be with you and will show you how she is part of My greater plan.” I believed that my Sovereign Lord worked all things together for good, but my faith was weak. I just didn’t get it yet.
The doctor gave us the option to abort. We didn’t, of course; but I was so emotionally distraught that, for a moment, even though it went against everything I believed as a Christian, my fear took over—“Life would be so much easier… you don’t really know what you’re in for.”
Truly, we didn’t know. Yes, scary and difficult days would come, but we never could have dreamed what joys God had planned for us with our Belinda. Thankfully, we did not forfeit those blessings. Our daughter Belinda is a beautiful picture of a “life worthy of life.” Belinda is a gift to us—a beautiful, perfect life—exactly who God wants her to be. She is sunshine wherever she goes! She’s had such a happy life. She loves to dance, swim, and run. She was a page at a national convention. She’s attended proms, loves music, and even plays the piano.
Because of the gift of Belinda, we have grown in so many ways. Her siblings, who love her so much and have played a large part in her upbringing, have very compassionate hearts for people.
A woman facing a decision about whether or not to abort her child may have heard, as I did, the voices of the “cruelly compassionate” calling to her, saying:
- “Having a child with special needs is a tragedy.”
- “There’s no reason for you to suffer needlessly or for your life to be over. Abortion will make the ‘problem’ go away.”
- “Having an abortion is the merciful thing to do… and don’t worry, it won’t feel pain. It’s just ‘pregnancy tissue.’”
Don’t believe these voices. Their counsel gives a false sense of security and well-being, but in the end will bring you only pain and hopelessness.
Belinda was a very sick baby before and after she was born, and when I was seven months pregnant, something happened that revealed her stunning humanity. Our doctor wanted to do a procedure to figure out what substance was surrounding her lungs. So he went through me into her chest cavity and drew a sample of the fluid. As we watched the ultrasound, when he put the needle into Belinda’s sleeping body, we saw her suddenly wake. Her heart rate increased dramatically and she clearly became agitated. Then suddenly, she moved abruptly to get away from the pain and actually grabbed at the needle… because she could feel it.
Here’s the reality:
- Preborn babies sense what’s going on.
- Preborn babies feel pain.
Ultrasounds tell the truth. That “pregnancy tissue” is a child.
The “cruelly compassionate” do not want you to see an ultrasound because they know who you’ll see. Trust me when I say I understand your fears and “what if’s”— our easily-deceived hearts are so susceptible to their lies.
At first, I didn’t get it either. But I must tell the truth. Raising a child with special needs (or any child for that matter) may not be easy, but it’s so worth it. How many of us dance through life unscathed by hard times? None of us, I imagine; but those hard times grow us and make us stronger.
I would never want anyone to experience the guilt, “wondering what could have been,” or the consequences caused by abortion. I would never want anyone to miss out on life’s greatest blessings, though some blessings may come in unexpected packages.
I pray that everyone comes to understand why abortion, not the child, is the tragedy.
Our precious Belinda, fashioned by the Lord, reflects her Creator beautifully to everyone who knows her. Down syndrome is not her identity. What is her identity—what defines her? She belongs to Jesus, the “Truly Compassionate” One. We’re so grateful the Lord gave us the gift of our Belinda Suzette, and if we had to do it again, would we ask God to change a thing?
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