And “I am The 10%” of Mommies

Well, that needs a little explaining. I found out I was pregnant at 41. Every month I went to the obstetricians’ (I had two) office until childbirth I was pressured to have “the test”. Every month I refused. I didn’t need to know. I didn’t need to judge my child on his or her predestined chromosome arrangement out of their control. So, I do suppose I could be considered in that 10% of mothers who choose to keep their baby even after “the test” (see: Sarah Palin) simply because, for me, my ‘choice’ was made in deciding against “the test”.

The “I am the 10%” was started by little six-year-old Boaz Reigstad’s dad Andy, and the little boy’s photo and standard handwritten “I am…” paper held up to read is making the like/share rounds on Face Book. Here is Boaz:

The Blaze has the background on this recent % movement, amid the many that are popping up since the #OWS “99%”. Within the report there is this:

The Daily Telegraph reports Friday that three children identified with Downs Syndrome are aborted in England and Wales per day […]

… around nine in ten women who are told they are going to have a baby with the problem opt for a termination.

The research shows that around 1,100 babies in England and Wales are aborted every year because of Down’s syndrome, an increase from 300 in 1989/90. […] They found that the number of Down’s syndrome diagnoses has increased by almost three quarters in since 1989 but fewer babies are now being born.

(There is no ‘s’ in Down Syndrome, by the way.)

As a parent who has researched their child’s condition (it’s not a disease or ‘mental illness’ … it’s mental retardation) for the last 11 years I do know I have read articles and papers where it was described that Great Britain “has nearly eradicated Down Syndrome” from their population through prenatal testing and resulting termination. Think about that term, eradicated.

This is my 10%, Elizabeth Rose, and I wouldn’t change a thing about her. She is perfect. She is a rare and priceless gem.

Lizzie Rose

While I don’t believe in the whole “spread the wealth” mentality of this #OWS movement, I do believe in the “spread the human worth” 10% movement.

19 thoughts on “And “I am The 10%” of Mommies”

  1. Great post Maggie!

    Elizabeth Rose is beautiful!

    “Spread the human worth” 10% movement!!!

    I wish you well 🙂 Melek

    Below is one of my favorite . . . when blessed with an exceptional child! 🙂

    WELCOME TO HOLLAND

    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this …

    When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

    “Holland?!” you say. “What do you mean, Holland?” I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.

    But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

    The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

    So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

    The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

    But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

    by Emily Perl Kingsley

  2. @ Melek

    Yep, that’s it! That’s perfect!

    I didn’t learn there was even any suspicion about Lizzie Rose’s condition until 3 days later (and a couple hours before baby Liz and I were to be discharged to go home). When the hospital nursery doctor and my nurse came in to discuss the possibility my baby was Down Syndrome it was like I was told I wouldn’t be riding home in my husband’s car, but there was an F-16 fighter jet waiting for me to pilot home. I was in such a state of shock that when my husband came into my room to pick us up to go home he thought the baby had died. You have to understand, we had just gone through 3 days of thinking, as you displayed above, thinking one way and now were told “nope, it’s this way”. It wasn’t any feeling of Lizzie’s “inadequacy”, but our inadequacy we were feeling. I was like, “God, what are you doing here?” The first thing you go through is the stifling feeling of protecting the child. Then all the possibilities of ‘what ifs’ and ‘how do we get her to progress’ fall on your mind like an overstocked closet tumbling out on your head. We were blessed in that Elizabeth didn’t have any health issues. She had a small hole in her heart that closed itself by the time she was 3. That’s it. She wasn’t a premie, was of an average weight and size and always was able to be charted on a typical child’s growth chart because she blew-away the Down Syndrome growth chart, ate well (I nursed her for the first 12 months), and while behind on typical milestones for babies and toddlers she responded very well with Early Intervention and physical/occupational/speech therapies at our local MR/DD facility and throughout grade school. The mother of one of my older girls’ classmates who had a typical daughter and a DS daughter came to our house for a visit when we got home, and told me 1) ya gotta breathe and relax, and 2) you are and always will be your child’s biggest advocate, never drop that ball and always run for the goal post, 3) your love is the biggest and best thing you can ever give any child to help them grow and develop, and we had been successful so far on 2 previous children don’t doubt ourselves now.

    I have two older daughters that I “planned”. Lizzie Rose was “unplanned” (I say this because my priest at the time laughed when I said that because, as he said, “They are all God’s plan, not yours”. True`dat…). Mike and I thought we were done. At the time, one daughter 15 and in high school, one daughter 12 and in middle school. Anyhow, both older daughters are college grads, the oldest a trauma ER/RN and working on a degree as a nurse practitioner, my middle girl is in her second year of medical school … So, the last nearly 12 years with Lizzie Rose have been a learning experience for me, and our whole family, in simplicity, patience, individuality, and an appreciation of all things we “normal” (bad word) people typically take for granted in our hectic lives. Bad word because Lizzie is a ‘normal’ pre-teen, just not ‘typical’ with other pre-teens her age in academics or intelligence (although she is a techno wiz with computers, iPads/iPods, video games, anything that hooks up to a TV, and is a fantastic photographer … AND She, as a typical pre-teen, has taken to using, in proper context, cuss words … my bad.)

    Thanks for the piece. I’ll copy/paste/save for future need.

    Maggie

  3. This a beautiful and uplifting post Maggie.

    These are my beliefs,

    Every life is a gift from our Mighty Lord God.

    We all come into this world with some condition/disease that differentiate us from others and it brings challenges into our daily lives.

    Even though we’re equal in God’s eyes, we certainly were not created equal. I believe that there is a powerful and beautiful reason for that, and that reason is the will of the almighty through the glory of his creation.

    God’s gives us these life challenges to test if we’re capable of giving love and compassion to others as much as our God the creator loves us all. This is also the will of his son our Mighty Lord Jesus Christ who gave his life for us so we all could be saved from our sins.

    We ALL have to carry our CROSSES in life, no ifs, butts or maybes. And whether we like it or not we have to take the best and the worst that life dishes out to us and make the best of it, that simple.

    Maggie, you have a beautiful daughter, a gift from the Mighty Lord and a loving joy into your life. Make no mistake about it, God send her to you for beautiful and powerful reason.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story, Maggie. What a beautiful young lady you have. May she touch many lives and make a beautiful difference in this world!

  5. Thank you, everyone.

    jsb

    She has a purpose…

    Since she was a baby I have noted the varying reactions I see/hear in people when I’m out in public with Elizabeth.

    Some just look, and I can almost read their minds as they calmly look away.

    Then there have been those who have ‘kindheartedly’ approached with awkward words, completely with good intentions, not realizing they were saying mostly the wrong things … but not their fault. However, I admit to having had my fill one day in the store with Lizzie at around 4 yrs old, when for the multi-umteenth time I heard, “They are so sweet and loving” (meaning people with DS) as she gently stroked Lizzie’s head … To which I grit my teeth and firmly stated, “She’s not a breed of dog. She will drive you nuts just like any other kid would.” The poor woman looked as if she was about to cry, and I looked over at my then 16 yr old middle daughter who was completely mortified. I apologized to the woman, explaining how in 4 yrs I had heard the same thing over and over again, and she was unfortunate enough to be the one I unloaded on while in a bad mood. She shook her head and apologized saying she had never thought about it that way, but I was right. I told her naturally I understood what she had tried to convey. I was the idiot.

    Last week Lizzie and I were in Walmart and some woman couldn’t help glancing over repeatedly from her shopping across the aisle. She finally caught up with us and told me how ‘beautiful’ my daughter is. To which Miss Lizzie Rose put her hand on her hip out like a model posing and flashed her a big smile saying, “Thank you!” The woman’s eyes got big and she laughed and chatted a bit with Lizzie. I think people don’t realize, yeah, you CAN talk to people with DS, just like you can with someone with one leg, or someone with red hair and freckles (at your own risk).

    Elizabeth Rose’s purpose?

    Pretty much what FreedomForCuba laid out.

  6. Some of your best right there in the comments section Maggie…
    thank you.

    I usually have a laugh when people say this is how I planned my life, and this is how God planned it, and well, “here I am” trying to make the best of it.
    Perfect picture too.. I miss my girls wearing pigtails.

    This Down Syndrome is nearly eradicated in Britain nowadays? there’s no Great in Britain. I can read perfectly well what the underlining intent is in that statement.

  7. @ marc in calgary –

    Elizabeth Rose takes great pride in her amazingly long hair. The photo was this past 4th of July before we headed up to the main drag for the parade.

    @ et al-

    I know I’ve been long here but a couple more things…

    Since Elizabeth had no health issues we had a discussion with our family doctor and decided we would keep Lizzie with him, and not switch to a pediatrician. Through our wonderful Early Interventionist we were made aware of physical problems that usually accompany DS. She worked with us and our doctor. Our doctor made sure to set-up appointments for Lizzie with the cardiologist, a gastro-intestinal dr., ear-nose-throat specialist, orthopedist, eye doctor, dentist (who specializes in DS children) and the geneticist (to check her original chromosome screening for any other abnormalities that could present other issues), and all medical professionals involved stayed in contact and exchanged all information regarding Lizzie. For our family dr., whom we have had a wonderful relationship with for ourselves and our 2 older gals, he was grateful for the learning experience of treating, tracking, and learning every aspect of the DS condition from Lizzie’s birth to present (pre-puberty … ugh!). He cracked books, researched medical journals online, tapped other colleagues. He had a couple other DS patients that were adults. When Lizzie went in for her “well-baby” check-ups he charted her on the typical growth chart and the DS growth chart (until she jumped clean off that one). He agreed with me on spacing her baby shots, and ALWAYS listened to my information regarding the condition (I always printed and brought in copies for him). We have been blessed with such a great dr. with a great openness and willingness to listen and ‘consult’. Never in a hurry, and always willing to take just that extra bit of time for discussion. I remember the long weeks while we waited for the blood test results to come back for Elizabeth’s genetic screening for confirmation of Down Syndrome. He called me a couple times after office hours to check on how not only Liz was getting along, but how Mike and I and the other girls were doing. If he didn’t call his nurse did. Then came the call one evening when he gently just said, “Yes”. He patiently waited on the phone line while Mike and I, on our 2 home phone extensions, gathered our hearts and souls while he instructed, “Just breathe, guys. You’ve been chosen…” and we went from there for almost 12 years now.

    I bring up my doctor (who is very conservative and anti-ObamaCare) because the medical world, most especially in the EU and the Scandinavian countries, and Great Britain, all where they have government-run healthcare, do this with their special needs/imperfect unborns because they are viewed as a major strain on the socialized healthcare system, and cannot contribute to its coffers later in life in the workforce. While we were very blessed our daughter has been outstandingly healthy and only needs the routine or sick doctor visits, most DS/special needs folks do typically do have issues that need either regular or constant attention.There is where the Euro countries look when they consider the cost on society. So, humanity is expendable…

    http://krestaintheafternoon.blogspot.com/2011/09/europe-screening-out-imperfect-children.html

    One article points out how parents in these areas who choose to fight the pressure of the socialized medical community and keep their ‘imperfect’ unborn babies are viewed as “sinners” and “genetic outlaws”:

    http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2006/tc20060720_148057.htm

    Even Australia has shown in recent years this same mentality of the state first, and special needs far below even last:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1082071/Doctor-denied-Australian-visa-Downs-Syndrome-son-permanent-drain-taxpayers.html

    Anyhow, just a (small) bit of what I have come across in the ‘cold cruel world’ in the 11-12 years with my daughter.

    Again, sorry so long here, but ya get me started and…

  8. Here in Canada with our socialized medical system, the rate of those aborted with D.S. is below Spain, France, and above the USA’s. I’m not surprised, yet “appalled” is more accurate.

    All of these people (PEOPLE!) are viewed as a cost first, person second. Not so different from the same reasons that have led to near mandatory helmet use from wake-up to sleep-ville. I’m certain that those supporters of ObamaCare™ are well aware of the controls they’ll be able to implement all in the name of “reducing costs”. All in the name of the “public good”.
    Kiss your liberty goodbye.

    Reading through your links, from Business Week, “…think hard about this real-life conversation between a teenager with Down syndrome and her mother. The daughter asked her mother whether she would still have Down syndrome when the two were together in heaven someday. The mother, taken by surprise, responded that she thought probably not. To which her daughter responded, “But how will you know who I am, then?”

    I’m convinced that at some point, those with D.S. will look around our society, and begin to wonder out loud, “what happened to those of us with D.S. that were born after 1985? was there a “cure” found for this?

    and something for Elizabeth Rose…
    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=queen%20elizabeth's%20signature&gs_sm=c&gs_upl=2659l9173l0l12230l21l21l0l8l8l0l328l1978l2.6.2.1l11l0&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi

    🙂

  9. uff that linkage of mine doesn’t work.

    Google images, “Queen Elizabeth’s signature”

    she’s always signed it, “Elizabeth R” I’m guessing that “R” is for royal.

  10. Before Miami’s Burdines became Macys’ in Miami, several folks with DS used to grab a bus right in front, with their lunch bags, on their way to work; it was hard to tell their ages, but they were at least in their 30’s ……very chatty, friendly, animated, and always on time. We can’t ever underestimate what God can – His work always goes against the flow.

  11. Yes, Marc, regina is Latin for queen. The first Queen Elizabeth, who was like Margaret Thatcher on steroids, also signed herself Elizabeth R.

  12. I’m too embarrassed by this revelation to state publicly the small prairie city where I was born.

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