Tuesday, October 6, 2009

11 Minutes

That's how long it took before the show I was watching earlier today, Birth Day: Moms Over 40, addressed genetic testing.

This particular mom was 46 when she gave birth. While I'm glad that things worked out well for her in the end, I have to admit that it's never easy to hear what was said.


Announcer: The happy news of the pregnancy was mixed with concern about the baby.

Mom: I mean, it was stressful when I first found out...when I was pregnant, cause, you know, all these thoughts go through your head...am I gonna have a Down's baby? Am I gonna have a baby with birth defects? You know, all these doubts go through your mind. And, um, so it was kinda rough the first couple of weeks.

They inserted a screen displaying the risk of having baby with Ds here. At 35, it's 1:400; at 45, it's 1:35.

Mom: But then after I got the amnio back, then it was like...we've been living on easy street since then.

Dad: Yeah and I built the baby's crib!



I swear I didn't make that up.

BD asked me what the big deal was and I told him that what I just heard was that the dad wouldn't have built the crib if the results hadn't come out 46.

I'm not naive. And I know that I must sound like a broken record with this 46/47 talk, but really? This is my life. This is what I think about so this is what I write about.

I don't expect people to start waving their arms around, all "Pick me! Pick me!" for a kid with Ds, but when I see the fear, the complete inability to conceive of the possibility of having a child that's not genetically perfect, I remember why I even try.

I attempt to educate and advocate for my daughter not because I think people without someone with Ds in their lives are stupid or heartless, but because you don't know until you know. And if I don't say something, people that know me might not get it anywhere else.

Just to be absolutely clear:

More women under 35 have babies with Ds than women over 35.

It makes sense if you think about it. More women under age 35 have babies.

So that magical, mythical line that puts one into the Advanced Maternal Age category? Not necessarily an indicator that something will be atypical.

For anyone wondering, I was about a week and a half shy of my 31st birthday when Playette was born.


Jasmine said...

Wow. The father not building the crib really bothered me too.

It is sad and I agree with you 100%.

Thanks for sharing.

Happy National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Molly said...

One day I'm going to (hopefully) have kids. If my kid has DS? Cool.

The blogworld has given me a serious love of kids with DS. Reeces Rainbow has given me a serious love of adoption. Blogs have opened my eyes to worlds I didn't even know existed!

My parents loved me for who I was, NOT what they wanted me to be. That's what I'll do for my kids too!

Cate said...

I can't even watch those shows. And I used to love them.

My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. ugh, yuk, and double ugh. It is all these subtle kinds of messages that make our jobs of educating so much harder. What network was this on?
I just started reading the new Debbie Macomber book and she has decided to make a skeleton found in a cave be a man with Ds. Why? Actually I am going to write a blog post about it. We start keeping a file of all these misc. places that perpetuate sterotypes that are just not necessary.

AZ Chapman said...

agreed my mom had me at 30 and I have CP

Lisa said...

Wow, what a pisser! Seriously. Horrible messages. Do they not realize that there are actually people in their audience who have children with Ds??

Maya said...


Great post, Chrystal. So very true. You are so right, no body says "pick me!" but Hello! When you get pg you run the risk of everything and anything.

Maya said...
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Jessica said...

While I like watching the baby/birth story shows I get irritated/frustrated/angry at how babies with Down syndrome are viewed too. Not only do the couples act like its this horrible tragedy, but the doctors on the shows tend to be the same. So sad.

Lisa said...

keep on keepin' on... it is frustrating, but you are a fantastic and realistic educator!

Michelle said...

I hear you!

It was exactly 2 weeks before my 30th birthday when Kayla was born :)