Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ante-Natal testing

I am just so confused and a little upset. A really good friend of mine popped in today with her baby boy. I'd left out the maternity pack the GP gave me and as soon as my friend saw the ante-natal tests booklet she said 'Oh, just throw that out straight away'. A little astounded I told her that I was hoping to have the tests they offer and that I was feeling a little scared about it all. Her response was to start telling me how if she was told she was having a Downs syndrome baby she would keep it and that a friend of hers had recently given birth to a child with Downs Syndrome and so on... I'm afraid I then told her that if I do have the tests and I do find out for sure that we are having a child with Downs Syndrom then I would seriously consider terminating the pregnancy.

Everything was a little awkward after that, not least because of the shocked face she pulled. I realise now that sometimes the hardest decisions shouldn't be shared with your best friends. I had a similar response on a thread I started on mumsnet asking about the tests available to me. Someone there laboured the point that this 'might be your only chance to have a child' and that because I had conceived using IVF the decision would be harder. My opinion is that the decision is never easy but the way I feel about bringing up a child with Downs Syndrome doesn't really fluctuate even though this pregnancy was hard to achieve.

Am I a bad person? Should I keep these things to myself in future? I hadn't realised that there were so many people out there who disagreed even with the ante-natal testing, I certainly didn't realise that someone so close to me would be so against them. Though I think the fact that she has a healthy child probably makes it easier for her to judge other people; she hasn't had to make that difficult decision and she has a 'perfect' child. My feelings are that I am 40 years old, if I bring a child into the world with a disability like this it will be an only child and I will die before they do. I feel like my friend has judged me, that she has stepped a little out of line by telling me what I should do without even asking me anything about how I feel.

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