This is the story of Courtney Williams Baker as a mother of a child with down syndrome. Courtney’s doctor told her that she would have a baby with Down syndrome when she was pregnant. Then, he told her very strongly that she should end the pregnancy. She wrote that doctor a letter two years after Emersyn was born. What she said was this.
“Recently, a friend told me that when her obstetrician saw her baby during her sonograms, he would say, “He’s perfect.” She went back to that doctor after her son was born with Down syndrome. He looked at the boy and told him, “I told you.” He’s just right.
Her story really hurt me. Even though I was glad for my friend’s experience, it made me sad because it was something I should have had. I wish you had been that doctor instead. I came to you when I was going through the worst time of my life. I was very scared, very worried, and very sad. I didn’t know the truth about my baby yet, and I needed to hear it from you so badly. But instead of helping and encouraging us, you told us we should kill our child. You asked us again if we knew how bad our lives would be if we had a child with Down syndrome. I told you her name. You suggested that we change our minds about keeping the baby.
From the first time we went, we dreaded going. You never told me the truth, so the hardest time in my life was almost unbearable. My kid was just right.
I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’m really just sad. I’m sorry that the little beating hearts you see every day don’t always amaze you. I’m sorry that the tiny fingers, toes, lungs, eyes, and ears don’t always make you stop and think about how amazing they are. I’m sad that you were so wrong when you said that having a child with Down syndrome would make our lives worse. And it breaks my heart that you might still have said that to a mother. But I’m mostly sad that you won’t ever get to meet my daughter Emersyn.
Because, you see, Emersyn has not only made our lives better, but she has also made a difference in the lives of thousands of people. She has given us a reason to live and a joy that words can’t describe. She’s given us more smiles, laughs, and kisses than anyone else ever has. She has shown us real beauty and real love.
So, my prayer is that no other mom will have to go through what I did. My prayer is that every sonogram will now show you real beauty and love. And my hope is that when you see the next baby with Down syndrome snuggled in her mother’s womb, you will look at that mom, see me, and tell her the truth: “Your child is perfect.”