Last night I dreamed that I had a drawerful of babies. Literally a drawer. But the one that my heart chose was the deformed baby- spina bifida maybe? It was a dream so I guess my mind didn’t get too specific. I just remember that baby was a fighter and my heart went out to it. I have no idea where the dream was leading or what it was supposed to mean.
The very few people who know my feelings about having a child of my own after 35 might be surprised by my “choice” though. I have been adamant that after 35, I wouldn’t consider having a biological child because of the increased likelihood of genetic problems like Down’s Syndrome. So perhaps they would wonder why in my dream I chose the baby who was not normal when I am so opposed to taking a chance of bringing one into my life?
I would love any child. My feelings have nothing to do with a rejection of what is not “normal”. My feelings have to do with that fact that if I am already in advanced maternal age, my child will have an older parent. If my child has physical difficulties and needs full-time care, I might not be physically able or even around to provide it. As a single woman, would my income be up to caring for a child with medical needs? I’ve been told that is a lack of faith. In the Bible, Sarah and Elizabeth both had babies at an advanced age and their babies were just fine so mine would be too. Unfortunately, my faith in God doesn’t work like that. My God isn’t Santa Claus. He doesn’t give me what I want to reward me for having faith. He set up the laws of nature that cause the likelihood of abnormalities to increase in children born to women who are over 35. No one is so “special” that they are exempted from those laws, certainly I am not.
While if given the option, I might not choose a child with a disability, my choice would stem mainly from a worry about what is best for the child. Every child is a gift no matter their challenges and if God gave me a child with issues, I would do everything possible to give that child the best life that he or she could have. But is it wrong for me to do everything humanly possible to decrease the likelihood that it will even be an issue? I don’t think so. I don’t think it is a lack of faith in God; actually, it is faith in God’s character as I know it- He is no “respecter of persons”.
That is why I embrace the possibilities. There are many ways that I can have a child without using my own DNA. Those possibilities kept me sane as my 35th birthday came and went.
Will I pursue those possibilities? I don’t know. Part of me is already acting, getting a second job to pay off bills and save up for medical costs, finishing school, wondering how my house can be reconfigured or added to, making room for a child or children while the other part of me laughs because it knows I don’t have the guts to do it. I don’t know which part will win, but the part with feet is certainly on its way and the part that laughs is laughing more quietly.
Pictured is Taya Kennedy, a model with Down’s Syndrome. Photo by Bruce Adams. Her story can be read at:
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