I was thinking the other day about a conversation my mom and I had a few years ago. She was telling me about how she got pregnant with my brother at the age of 35, and back in 1988 this apparently was seen as a threat to the livelihood of the baby since my mom had conceived at “such an old age.” Her doctor, without blinking an eye, recommended she terminate the pregnancy since there was a high risk of the child being born with Down-Syndrome. “And your insurance will cover the entire cost since the choice to terminate is to save a baby from being born with a disability.”
I can see the memory of that event unfolding in my mother’s eyes. They filled with tears as she recounted going home that day and being left with the responsibility of deciding the fate of her child’s life. After hours of praying and talking with my dad, she called her doctor and said firmly, “I’ve decided I’m going to keep the baby. Thank you for your concern, but if it does have Down-Syndrome…well then that’s just a bridge we’ll cross when we get to it.”
My brother Brandon was born December 25, 1988, with no sign of any “disability” whatsoever. The beauty of it is, though, that my mother would have loved him just the same if he had. My heart breaks at the idea of him not being here with us because he might not have lived up to our society’s standards of worth. My mom made the decision that a child is a gift, no matter what. The thought process that “if a life isn’t ‘normal’ it isn’t valuable” just didn’t fly with her. Inspired by my mom and her strength, I wrote a little prayer dedicated to any soon-be-parents.
A Prayer For My Children
Lord, please let my children grow to not be just like me, but better than me.
May they be a person who spends less time worrying and more time celebrating; more time loving and less time judging.
May they be the kid who can tell who in their class is lonely and sad, and be a friend to them even if it’s uncool.
May they be the one who sees the beauty in others even when no one else can.
May they be a believer, committed to the idea that they are capable, strong, lovely, and valuable even when others want to make them think they aren’t.
May they be a dreamer who is never afraid to create, even with the knowledge that others may want to destroy.
May they be courageous enough to follow their heart’s desire, even if it is not what I desire for them.
May they be an innovative soul who views mistakes as blessings and opportunities instead of failures.
May they be healthy, with an able body and mind, capable of conquering life’s greatest challenges
My biggest hope, Lord, is for me: that I will love my children with my whole heart, just as You made them. Even if they are none of these things.