Saturday, April 30, 2011

*Fear of the Unknown*

I have wanted to write a post on this topic for some time now and have put it off for a variety of reasons.  Will I offend someone?  What if words are taken out of context?  Yada Yada.  But you know what?  This is my space, and it's being written.  So here it goes...

A few weeks prior to my level II ultrasound I was fiddling around with some new apps for my iPhone.  One I came across was BabyBump, much similar to Circle of Moms and The Bump.  I have been receiving weekly updates, etc.  What I became drawn to were the message boards, specifically the Tests and Checkups and the High Risk Prengancy forums. 

It became clear that many mommies to be in the Testing forum are nagged with worries about the "statistics" regarding their little babies. 

Certainly one's personality and possibly her belief system play a role in deciding how much prenatal testing to undergo. 

For the most part, I can be laid back.  I was young, 27, when I was pregnant with Peanut.  Because of our belief system, coupled with not wanting to do any unncessary worrying, we chose not to have prenatal testing, including the early screenings, other than ultrasounds.  Guess what?  I had a stress free pregnancy.  It was great (minus the horrid morning sickness).

Other mommies to be couldn't/wouldn't want to take the avenue that we chose.  I respect that.  To each his own. 

Fear is the hidden monster that consumes our thoughts when things *might not go as planned*.  Did I ask God to give me a child with special needs?  Nope.  Did I ever in a million years think I "could handle" having Cameran prior to her birth?  Nope. 

Guess what?  He did and I am.

90% of children like Cameran are aborted usually due to a "possibility" of Down syndrome.  Some of these babies would have had Ds and others would have turned out perfectly fine. 

Of course the majority of doctors have limited experience dealing with Ds and wind up giving outdated information which winds up scaring new mommies. 

So here is where I get a little baffled...

Statistically speaking, chances for having one's child be diagnosed with autism (found here) are higher than most any mommy-to- be's, regardless of age, chances of having a baby born with a chromosomal abnormality.  Yet, we still get pregnant every. day. 

100% of children with autism are here, and 100% of mommies have to deal with their diagnosis.  No prenatal chances, odds, or confirmations help these mommies decide what to do prior to birth.

So what makes the fear of Down syndrome and other trisomies greater than the fear of a possible diagnosis of autism after a child has been born?


  1. First of all happy bleated 30th Birthday!!!

    This is a very interesting post and to be honest I've never thought about comparing getting a diagnosis of Ds to Autism. We didn't do any testing with either of our boys and I wouldn't change that...I loved and enjoyed both pregnancies.

  2. Exactly! I have posted before that we did not have testing with Cameran and despite her postnatal diagnosis still decided against testing with this pregnancy other than having a full anatomy scan. Our odds are 1:100, just as autism is 1:110 for ALL children. I am in no way comparing the two in terms of their special needs, but simply the fact that it seems like women are petrified of Down syndrome, and it is "avoidable" if one believes in termination, whereas each and everyone of us could live in fear of each well-baby checkup when we are asked to check columns of "yes" and "no" which lead to or away from a diagnosis of autism. If women, as a whole, had that same irrational fear, then I would think that pregnancy rates as a whole would go down, and there is nothing preventable about autism.

    But, I also realize I can write and think this having Cameran and knowing what a joy she is, not seeing her as the "burden" that some individuals do when thinking of special needs.

  3. We also chose not to have any prenatal testing, even though I was 37. We wouldn't have done anything with the knowledge, and I had a blissfully uncomplicated, stress-free pregnancy, too!! It was perfect. I undrstand a lot of women want the testing so they can be prepared, and I love that they are able to learn so much and get involved ahead of time, but that just wasn't for me. I wouldn't do anything differently if I were pregnant again, either.

  4. It's the control aspect. A diagnosis of Down syndrome when done prenatally is something a mother can have control over. She decides what she's comfortable with and what she wants to know or doesn't want to know. I disliked having an unexpected late prenatal diagnosis. Thought for sure I would do testing with the next baby, but ended up not. I chose not to precisely because there are no guarantees about anything so why bother. With autism there is no definitive test, certainly not prenatally. Maybe that's a fear saved up for the 1st year. It's why so many mommies are delaying or skipping vaccines. I'm personally more worried about allergies as they are the bigger health problem in my family. Interesting topic, thanks for sharing! Your girl is gorgeous!

  5. Totally agree! When we found that Charissa might have a chance of D, we decided also to forgo tests seeing how getting one can also be risky. At any rate, even if she did, we wouldn't abort her :) Thanks for sharing! Just found your blog :p I'll be subscribing! And congrats on baby #2! Maybe one of these days we can meet up! It's encouraging to see how some HS friends have become so strong and open with their faith :)


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