I'm not going there. I understand that doctors pressure parents into aborting babies that have Trisomy 18 and other fatal disorders, but that's not what I'm about. I know that most parents making an abortion decision after a fatal diagnosis are doing the best they can based on what they've been told, but abortion is an act of despair and that's not any way to uplift anybody. Even in the bleakest of circumstances, there can be blessings. There can even be joy. And that's the aspect of Trisomy 18 I'd like to look at.
Finally, there is Eliot's story:
One thing I like about the Trisomy 18 support site is that although it takes a "prochoice" stance on whether to abort the child or to give him or her a chance, it does something that I've seen very rarely: Warns parents not to make a permanent choice while they're still in shock. So many parents tell stories of being pressured to schedule an abortion right away, while they're still reeling. Here, the page about aborting reminds parents, "Another thing to note: while interrupting does end the pregnancy sooner, it does not lessen nor shorten the grieving process afterwards, for you are still grieving the loss of your precious child. It is important to also consider these emotional issues while making your decision." This honesty is refreshing.
(An interesting aside -- Stories I've seen in which the parents chose to abort after a grave prenatal diagnosis, in almost every case they were convinced by medical professionals that the baby was actively suffering and that aborting was a mercy to end the horrible pain. Strangely, though abortion activists come out of the woodwork to "debunk" any studies indicating that abortion causes the baby pain, I've never seen them step forward to "debunk" these doctors' assertions that prenatal conditions cause pain. If having a heart defect or other prenatal condition causes horrible agony, how can having your arms and legs twisted off be painless?)
The Trisomy 18 site also has excellent advice on carrying to term and making a birth plan.
UPDATE: I've found this press release from the Trisomy 18 Foundation celebrating the passage of the Brownback/Kennedy Bill, providing information and support to parents who are given a grave prenatal diagnosis for their children.