James’ dad writes to moms of unborn babies who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome PDF Print E-mail
Written by R. David Aldridge   

AldridgeIf you just found out that not only are you pregnant, but that it is very likely that your baby will have Down Syndrome, my heart goes out to you. You are facing something we did not face. We learned of James' additional chromosome the day he was born. Had we known months before that James was to have Down Syndrome, I am sure a flood and fury of thoughts would have raged in our hearts and minds. What would we have done? Probably the same thing—have James. But I know for sure that we would have been on the torment rack, second-guessing ourselves. Maybe that is where you are.

While I am truly grateful we were spared that decision, I recognize you are not. I cannot imagine what you are going through. Please know that you are not alone. There are many who have come to that same place, and many (if not the vast majority) have chosen not to bring their child into the world with Down Syndrome or another birth defect. My heart goes out to them and to you. The decision may have been easy for some, and, I surmise that because you are reading this right now, it is not such a slam-dunk decision for you. I am very grateful that you have taken the time to pause, to think, to reflect and ponder this decision. I am praying for you. And I am pleading with you to choose life. Not only the life of your baby, but your life.

I am saying/writing this to you through tears. I cannot imagine life without James. I was told, or it was intimated, or I had believed that I would not be able to really converse with James like father-to-son. Nonsense! We have great conversations. Long ones. Deep ones. Has he been slow to develop to the place where we've had these talks? Yes, a little. But so have I. I needed to grow up some in order to really offer something for James. And fathering James has helped me to grow up.

At times I wondered if we would be able to do the things I enjoyed, thinking that the answer was a clear NO. James has a really good throwing arm! He is a wiz on the computer. He can ride horseback better than I will ever be able to ride. He has a way with horses and other animals that few have. He writes pages and pages of scripts of plays and stories from his own excellent imagination, with very good spelling. Most people at church would rather see him than me! In fact, he has developed skills and abilities beyond what many can do. He keeps surprising us!

Some may ask, Ok, but can he engage with people? Does he have life-skills that will carry him through years? Can he converse with strangers and others? Oh, my goodness! James may have a lower IQ than many, but his emotional or relational quotient is huge. But even if James could not cook, or write, or use the computer or throw or sing or pray or a myriad of other things he can do, there is one thing he does and has taught me: JOY—real joy. The exultant thrill of being content in the company of a mighty and loving God.

But enough about James, you have within you a mysterious bundle of phenomenal potential that will not only surprise you, but bless you and your world with love and joy. We need these!

Friend, I absolutely do not want anything to rob you of that sweet, unadulterated love and joy. Please, be resolute to bring your child into this world. Yes, it's a rough world. Yes, there are hardships. But just beyond the hardship is a joy unspeakable. And this wacky world, rough and harsh as it may seem, is in desperate need of your child and the love and joy only they will bring.

God is with you!
Dave Aldridge

 

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