Human Interest

Mom chooses life for baby girl with Down syndrome after overcoming fear of the unknown

Down syndrome

Linzi Graham was 18 weeks pregnant with her third child when she learned her preborn baby had Down syndrome. Scared and full of misinformation, she scheduled an abortion. But the night before what would have been a 21-week abortion, (babies at 21 weeks have survived outside the womb) she changed her mind and canceled that appointment.

Graham lives in Ireland and abortion was still illegal in the country at the time, so her abortion was set to take place in England. But during the weeks leading up to her appointment, she researched the condition and “saw amazing families going through what I was so afraid of.”

She and her partner Keith Patterson decided not to go through with the abortion.


“Speaking to other parents made a big difference,” she explained. “I realised I was only having a termination because I was afraid, and that the more information I had, the better.” She said she understands that mothers often feel like they aren’t strong enough to raise a child with disabilities because she felt that once herself. But she was wrong.

“All I had in my mind was misinformation, fear and negativity, but I can’t explain how glad I am that I changed my mind,” she told The Sun. “The reality of life with a child with Down’s Syndrome in 2020 is completely different from what I feared it was.”

This year, the UK show Emmerdale ran a storyline that included the abortion of a baby with Down syndrome. The show has faced criticism over the episode, and for Graham, it was heartwrenching to see.


“I was incredibly upset,” she said. “It brought me back to when I was in that position. I worry if this had been going on then I might have seen a termination as the only sensible choice, and my beautiful baby might not be here now.”

Today Graham is grateful she didn’t go through with the abortion because her daughter Matilda is “amazing.” She underwent heart surgery at 13 weeks old but otherwise, life has been normal.

“My other kids don’t see her as anything other than their little sister,” she explained. “She’s been able to do so much more than we thought. She loves swimming, she models for a local boutique and the plan is for her to go to mainstream school.”

Graham wants everyone to know that there is a “joyful reality of life with a child with Down’s Syndrome” and people facing the diagnosis of a child need to hear about that joy — “not negativity.”

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