Home abortion More Thoughts on Special Needs Children and the God Who Creates Them

More Thoughts on Special Needs Children and the God Who Creates Them

by Kelly Crawford

This thought-provoking comment comes from The Cottage Child, copied from the comment thread in part 1 of “Children With Disabilities.”  She made two extremely valid points of which we need to be reminded.  Thank you, Rachael.

“Another difficulty with this line of thinking, everything riding on physical perfection, is also why it’s become so incredibly expensive to have a baby period. (I realize lots of families have chosen home-birth, and I’m just going to tell you right now you’re better women than I am. 😉 )

But for those of us who are the standard ob/hospital delivery kind of gals, the pressure for endless testing (read: $$$$) begins from the minute you make the first appointment. If you are so brazen as to have children in your old age – say 37 – you’re pushed to have genetic testing sequences, amnio, multiple ultra sound screenings, and on and on and on. Politely decline most if not all, and watch the wave of contempt (I actually had a nurse roll her eyes at me) coming at you from every member of the staff. Hear the confused silence of the insurance company when you call to say “don’t pay that, they didn’t perform those tests” because many practices will attempt to bill them as a “package” for mid life pregnancies whether the tests are done or not.

Anyway, sorry for the mini-rant, but medicine itself is complicit in the obsession with “perfectly” healthy babies, with little regard for the deleterious effects much of the testing they do has on the baby (up to and including potential miscarriage), not to mention increasing the anxiety level of the mother. All presented as “so you can make the best decision for your family”. It’s more than a little creepy. I think a lot of it is dollar driven, but there’s an element to it that is trying to unravel the miracle – studied closely, the amazing part is that so many babies are born as we expect them to be.

I find it interesting that our current culture is CRAVING the hand-crafted stamp on everything right now – the imprint of the person who made an object is dear to us, it makes it special, unique,not cookie cutter or predictable. Everything, that is, except people. We can’t accept physical differences or disabilities as anything but less than the preferred standard. There’s no consideration that these differences are valuable or complimentary to us, forget beautiful, intentional even, in the sight of God. For a world bent on worshiping diversity, we don’t leave room, ultimately, for much but the superficial differences.”

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30 comments

Lucy July 16, 2010 - 12:37 pm

Hi thee to a new doctor? I declined all the old-age specials (though I still got a ‘level 3’ ultrasound instead of the regular ultrasound – it was still just the one 20 week standard). I just told the doctor abortion wasn’t an option for us so unless the test would reveal something that could be effectively treated in utero it wasn’t going to happen. Like all docs, he was required to offer but did so without pressure or prejudice. If you don’t like the attitudes from your doctors office, vote with your feet (while you still can).

It’s not going to be too long before we’re having these discussions about gender selected abortion. As gender tests become available earlier and earlier in pregnancy, those selections are going to skyrocket in this country.

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the cottage child July 16, 2010 - 12:49 pm

Lucy – yes, goodbye Dr….this was over five years ago, my third baby, so I had little difficulty essentially ignoring them. We had so much going on at the time I really was too busy to be offended, so I didn’t switch. I worry, though, for the women who are having their first babies in environments like that. It’s just such a bizarre need they have to pressure mothers into all those tests.

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Quinn July 16, 2010 - 12:41 pm

” We can’t accept physical differences or disabilities as anything but less than the preferred standard. ”

And this from a culture that has been raised on “tolerance.” Odd, huh?

Thought-provoking indeed.

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Word Warrior July 16, 2010 - 12:55 pm

Lucy,

“As gender tests become available earlier and earlier in pregnancy, those selections are going to skyrocket in this country.”

Bad news… alt=>”Pregnancy test reveals baby’s sex”/>

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Word Warrior July 16, 2010 - 12:55 pm

Lucy,

“As gender tests become available earlier and earlier in pregnancy, those selections are going to skyrocket in this country.”

Bad news…“Pregnancy test reveals baby’s sex”

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Charity July 16, 2010 - 1:52 pm

I’ve never actually understood why anyone feels that they *have to* know the sex of their unborn child. I mean, c’mon, it’s either a boy or a girl! 50/50 chance those silly tests are going to be right. It’s not like there are 15 different sex(s)!

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the cottage child July 16, 2010 - 2:21 pm

Charity – I was one of those people! I thought I would lose my mind if I didn’t know. Silly isn’t it?

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Julie-Anne July 16, 2010 - 2:50 pm

I have to say, like cottagechild that I like to find out ahead of time too. It’s mostly for practical reasons :)and I find it strange to lay there at an ultra-sound, knowing the technician can see if it’s a son or daughter and not being part of that discovery I guess. Personal for me but I know some people think it’s better to just wait 😉

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Kelly L July 16, 2010 - 3:01 pm

Whenever you find out, it still is a surprise. I couldn’t wait to know! I really liked calling her by her name while she could hear from the inside…just a silliness I love.

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ladyscott July 18, 2010 - 7:18 pm

The first one I HAD to know. Then my second and third, I thought about waiting, but just couldn’t. I love knowing who they are even earlier and getting things prepared. Although I do hold moms who wait in high regard. Sometimes I wish I could.

Charity July 16, 2010 - 3:03 pm

I like the surprise after the puuuuush! 😉

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Julie-Anne July 16, 2010 - 3:20 pm

Charity, that’s definitely exciting!! 🙂

Ginger July 16, 2010 - 3:53 pm

Not better, just more fun! 😉

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Word Warrior July 16, 2010 - 2:43 pm

Leave it to me to dig up a whole ‘nother VERY intriguing topic as the question of gender-selective abortion arose.

This has hit me like a ton of bricks.

So we’ve got the feminist movement fighting for “the value of women”, and then ironically, some of them claiming they fight for “the value of all”…except the unborn. Seems now the trend is, beginning with other countries and somehow finding its way to America, selective abortion of FEMALES. Which puts feminists in quite the conundrum.

If you’re interested, this article expands: http://www.nrlc.org/news_and_views/Feb09/nv022609.html

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Ginger July 16, 2010 - 3:48 pm

She says that those of us who homebirth are better (meaning: braver) than she, but then she goes on to say all that she had to fight against with the hospital staff. How was I braver by not having to deal with any of that? 😉

Excellent points made.

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the cottage child July 16, 2010 - 4:42 pm

Ginger – I was treated like gold by the hospital staff, I have to say – it was the Dr and nurses in a private practice I became a little weary of :)…if I were to have another child, let’s just say I wouldn’t go back.

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Katie Grace July 16, 2010 - 4:09 pm

I have to say, I am so spoiled in the doctor department. I have a wonderful OB/GYN. He specializes in high risk pregnancies and fertility treatment. He is a Christian and rejoices in each birth. He has a private practice with 3 nurses and 2 front office staff and him. He does his own 4D ultrasounds at every visit! Since he does them himself, no need to bill or charge because he isn’t paying someone else to do them. He does this for the joy in it. He became a doctor to assist his wife (who has severe endometriosis) and they have 3 wonderful children. He could make a lot more money, but keeps costs as low as possible.

I said all of that to just show you that there are some great ones out there, you just have too really look for them. I drive almost an hour to see him, but it is so worth it. When I gave birth to my first, after 4 years of being treated by him for fertility problems, he said “Congratulations, you’re a mommy!” as he handed me my daughter just after birth. He also wiped away his own tears. Now that’s the kind of doctors the world needs more of!

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the cottage child July 16, 2010 - 5:02 pm

Katie Grace, if we have another baby I’ll be in touch to see if he knows of any other Dr’s in our area. Praise God for Dr’s like yours.

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Dev July 16, 2010 - 4:35 pm

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess the author of this article doesn’t have special needs children, and I mean that in a non-snarky way. If she does, it’s not the sort of medical needs that I live with every day. My son has an extremely rare, genetic, progressive and terminal neuromuscular disorder–he is cognitively perfect, but is unable to breathe without a ventilator and will never walk or even sit unsupported. Soooo…I’m coming from a slightly different place than Rachael is. My point is this: I never in a billion years would have guessed how ill my son was, even in utero. Even if you have no intent to abort for something like a CHD or Down Syndrome, it is extremely useful to KNOW if your child is going to be a special needs child, especially if there is a family risk. You can plan, you can prepare. I wish to heaven I had known before my son was born, but I didn’t–I would have definitely been able to plan in advance.

I know many of these tests involve risks to the fetus-those I can see bypassing if there is little risk (ex: a young mom and Down Syndrome), but if there is no risk, there is no point in dismissing the tests out of hand just because you have no intent of aborting.

While I too find the idea of abortion both repugnant and immoral, I think a little bit of compassion might go a long way. I run a 25% risk of another child being ill with what my son has, and living the hell I live now knowing I will watch him die makes me extremely unwilling to trust God with my ferility. Call it lack of faith, but if you don’t understand it, God be praised, because it means you don’t live in my situation. There are those in positions similar to my own who choose to abort, knowing the sheer torture of having watched one child fade away then die is too much for them and the child. The old epithet ‘you can’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes’ bears repeating here: God and God alone is the judge. He and he alone knows our hearts, and he and he alone will judge us mercifully and lovingly.

Sorry so long–just thought I’d toss in my two cents.

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the cottage child July 16, 2010 - 5:02 pm

Dev, I’m happy to have your response, though this certainly isn’t “my” conversation, just a comment I left on another post. You’re correct, I (Rachael) don’t have special needs children, nor do I presume to have any notion of what having them in my daily life would be like. I’m sorry if I gave you the impression I was trying to do that. As much as I appreciate the beautiful stories families share about their special needs children, I’m under no illusion that it’s a fairy tale fantasy.

My objection isn’t to the tests themselves, but to the pressure the medical industry (and I use that word on purpose) puts on women to undergo testing, many without any indication other than age, and I think it’s worth considering for what it is. While I appreciate the technology, the odds are that most children child will be born without “defect”, regardless of maternal age. Many of the prescribed tests are hazardous to the baby, and many produce false positives, and we’re off to the races with all that entails. That’s MY objection, and each person has to do with the information what they’re led to.

As for your fertility, and judgment, etc, which I’m only mentioning in response to you bringing them up, we might have some philosophical disagreement, but not from the position of a lack of my compassion for you. Just the opposite actually. Be well.

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Dev July 16, 2010 - 5:16 pm

Oh no, Rachael–I am sorry if I came across as snarky or judgmental–I didn’t mean to, and I apologize. And I completely agree with you on the tests–the ones that hold a risk are not worth it unless you have a situation such as my own–for me, if my child isn’t going to be able to breathe at birth, my docs need to know so they can take the proper measures to help him/her. But that, I agree, is an extremely rare situation.

I wish to heaven I had the faith that many of you here exhibit–I just can’t put myself or another child through this.

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Stephanie July 18, 2010 - 1:55 pm

Dear All,
I do have a special needs child also. I will say that at first I was so bitter at God for sending me this child, because I had been “so good” I thought, anyone but me. Why Me? But now that he has been My son for 11 years I am so greatful and glad that God chose me to be his mom. God can and he will give you everything you need to care for a special needs child. In all honesty he will more than likely die way before I do and I will be completely and utterly grieved beyond words but I will still be glad that God chose me to be his mom. Yes!!!!!It will be worth it. I have learned more about God and his ways and his wisdom through my son than anything else that I have ever been through so far in this life the Lord has given me. Just FYI, I have 4 children one before my special needs son and 2 after. Only one of my kids has special needs the others do not. I would be happy with any child the Lord would have give me, special needs or otherwise. My special needs son has a job that only he can do and noone else can do it for him. “His strength is made perfect in weakness!” He is not a mistake and if he was meant to be any other way then he would be. “My God will supply all my needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Do not feel sorry for me or the life that God has chosen for me or my son. If God chose this for me before the creation of the world then who am I to complain about it.

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Word Warrior July 18, 2010 - 2:49 pm

What a beautiful testimony of how the Lord revealed Himself to you.

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sheena July 18, 2010 - 2:30 pm

There are many circumstances in which the information available by various types of pre-natal testing can be priceless even if one would never choose abortion. Because a level 2 ultrasound revealed that our baby daughter was not only growth restricted but also had a brain abnormality, we were advised to do an amniocentesis. Doctors thought our daughter had trisomy 18, a fatal genetic abnormality.
A friend of ours who had lost a baby within a day of his birth due to a genetic condition, grieved to me about the horrible tortuous tests her poor baby had had to endure after his birth as the doctors desperately tried to save him. By the time doctors figured out the baby’s condition was terminal, his time was nearly up. If my friend had known prenatally the condition of her baby, they could have saved him from suffering painful tests and horrible procedures, and instead loved on him, and spent their time together holding him and saying good bye. They could have prepared his 7 brothers/sisters and allowed them to tell their baby brother good bye while he was still living.
Because we were faced with a similar situation- we needed to know how to care for daughter after birth- serious life saving medical intervention or hospice care- we agreed to an amniocentesis when our daughter reached 32 weeks. Because we lived on a small remote island with extremely limited medical care this would give us enough time to fly out a loved one to watch our other 3 children and then my husband and I could fly off the island to a better medical facility if necessary.

We needed to know exactly what type of care our daughter would require concerning her brain abnormality. So I underwent 5+ hours of pre-natal MRI imaging and then when the amniocentesis revealed our daughter had Turner’s Syndrome (thank God it wasn’t Trisomy 18) we had fetal echocardigrams done to make sure she didn’t have a heart defect. Because pre-natal tests revealed our daughter didn’t have any life-threatening conditions we were able to stay on the island with our other children for her birth (they did have a small NICU and she did end up there).
If we hadn’t done the amnio we never would have known that our daughter has Turner’s Syndrome since she looks just like every other cute little baby; only a little smaller. Because we know about her having TS, the Air Force was able to send us to a location with better medical facilities so that our Kylie can have access to the many specialists she sees on a regular basis.
I recommend level 2 ultra-sounds so that if a woman does happen to have a special needs baby, the family can prepare, learn, and get the baby the medical help he or she needs.
Also, I have heard that there isn’t any truth to older woman being more likely to have special needs babies. While I don’t know whether or not this statement is true, I will say that it would make sense for God to give the blessings who need extra care, patience, and understanding, to the seasoned mother who is already confident in her abilities to nurture babies, and to a family with many brothers and sisters to cherish the things about them that make them special. A large family will have more hands and hearts to help and completely adore the baby who is special. Since older women are more likely to be seasoned mothers with many children to give extra love to the special child, it make sense that they would be the ones to receive that type of special blessing.

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Stephanie July 18, 2010 - 4:13 pm

Yes! He did reveal himself to me and he continues to reveal himself to me. Thank-you Lord for always knowing exactly what we need and always sharing just enough of yourself at exactly the right time. Thank-you for showing me and my entire family that you do not need our abilities but only our availabilty. I love you Lord and all the precious children you have given me to raise for you.

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Em July 20, 2010 - 10:54 am

Medicine is “obsessed” with perfect babies because of liability issues when a perfect baby is not the outcome. Many OBs have left their chosen field due to the increasingly exorbitant medical malpractice premiums. I do not think it’s because they refuse to accept imperfection, but because they know new mommies tend to do so. Especially without prior warning.

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the cottage child July 20, 2010 - 1:25 pm

Em, you write: “Medicine is “obsessed” with perfect babies because of liability issues when a perfect baby is not the outcome.”

There is truth to that, but a separate issue, which by the way I would go there with you on.

“I do not think it’s because they refuse to accept imperfection, but because they know new mommies tend to do so. Especially without prior warning.”

Sort of. Again, a different conversation than what my comment was addressing, but I see what you’re saying. I think both my point and yours are simultaneously true in many circumstances.

To reiterate: my objection is not to medical testing, but a default to extreme, all or nothing procedures that are largely unnecessary. For my own personal example, I agreed to the tri-screen that is the usual initial marker for many common issues. This was at MY insistence, because the protocol for a woman over 35 is to go straight to amnio, (along with a variety of genetic tests, simply because the insurance would pay for it) which is a potential risk to a healthy fetus. My opinion is based on the fact that MOST babies are born healthy, period. The emotional factor for me is two friends miscarrying healthy babies and another on bedrest for 5 months because of this “routine” procedure. The risks outweighed any benefit for these families. The test determined their lost children were perfectly healthy, save the test. The truth of medical interference not always being beneficial and occasionally of questionable motivation is important.

I don’t know your situation, Em, and don’t know what test could have been performed to save your baby or what indicators might have been detected, I only wish it had been done. Just like a wish a default test had NOT been performed on my friends whose babies died.

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Em July 20, 2010 - 11:00 am

Added to comment number 13 above, I say this as the mother of a special needs child who died. Medical testing, had it been offered for his condition, would have indicated treatment and his life would have very possibly been saved.

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