Caught in the Betrayal of Fate

Monday, July 19, 2010
Caught in the Betrayal of Fate

My daughter’s doctor called her and her husband to come in for an immediate appointment regarding a prenatal test that indicated something could be wrong with the new baby. She’s at the end of her first trimester. I asked,”If the next tests indicate something wrong, what will you do?”

She replied, in tears, “What can we do? We believe in God, we have to accept what He sends us. What? Are we going to kill a baby?”

When I asked her husband the same question, privately, he gave an entirely different response.

Here I am,  in dead center, as usual, able to understand and agree with both of them.

As a family, we’ve already trod the moral high road. We’ve paid our dues for admission to the tower of special needs, and we’d rather not do it again.

My third daughter has Down Syndrome. Though I did not give birth to her (all my kids are originally “stepkids”)  I know what it feels like to be betrayed by fate, to relish the thought of the arrival of another child, and to be kicked in the heart when that child appears with special needs. Believe me, I know, but my story is another story. The point is that I know how she and her husband feel, and I  understand the moral implications of either decision.

Whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is a decision that one can never fully evaluate before the fact. One will never know how the future would have unfolded had the decision been made the opposite way. Therefore, one is caught in  a double betrayal of fate.

I honestly do not know what Islam says about terminating a pregnancy during the first trimester, but I don’t really care, astaghfirullah.
Religion is only one of many factors that will have a bearing upon the outcome of this situation. The best outcome would be that the test was a false positive, and that the baby is perfectly normal.

Life is hard enough under ordinary circumstances. Are we required to hang an additional ball and chain around our necks while we have the means to prevent such a fastening? Oh, yes, I’ve heard about the blessings in raising a child with special needs; I’ve acquired some of them myself, but if I had it to do over, I’d rather pass on this particular blessing.

Nevertheless, if my daughter bares a child with “special needs” (what a euphemism!)  I’ll have to fasten my seat belt on that particular roller coaster all over again. I’ll do it, and I’ll shut up about it. I’m prepared, and I’ll help her.