I'd never thouht I would become the parent to one of "them"...
Yet that is exactly what has happened. My son, who was born only yesterday, was born with one extra chromosome; because of it, his life has been altered and changed forever.
And I have been left wondering what went wrong, or if there was anything I could have done to prevent this from happening. Oh, I could have had my wife, Jenny, abort the baby; however, we don't believe in abortion, so now we are faced with raising a child who is handicapped.
We are still trying to come to terms with the diagnosis of Down syndrome for our child. Our child will always be slower developmentally than his peers; he will always be mentally disabled, as well as have some accompanying features: the slanted eyes. The crease in the middle of the palms of both hands. Short, stubby fingers. A thick neck. Absence of the bridge of his nose. A round, moonlike face. A thick tongue that might impede with speaking or eating properly. Smaller than normal ears. Straight, thin hair.
Little Clarkson Dillon won't look anything like his brother, Stevie, or his sister, Grace: he'll always be marked as "different".
I can see the staring faces, hear the cruel taunts of others as they call my child names. Names like "retardate". "Retarded". "Imbecile". "Stupid". "Moron". "Idiot".
I can also see him not being included in other games played by other kids because of his mental/physical imperfections.
I can see him sitting in a fifth grade class, the other kids laughing as he "reads" a Dr. Suess book (held upside down), or see the class bully tripping him, so he falls onto his face.
I can see Clarkson Dillon sitting in a cold, damp factory, making small, plastic pieces for very little pay, or living in a dorm with other mentally handicapped adults, some worse off than he is, living on nothing but his SSDI check or what little money he gets at his job.
I can see the mounds of paperwork or the unsympathetic, serious expressions of doctors as they discuss his prognosis for a future.
It is not a very pretty picture, as you can very well imagine.
I can also see Clarkson lying in a hospital bed, his weakened body ravaged by leukemia (people with Down's syndrome are, for some reason, predisposed to it), fighting to live, his blue eyes asking silent, desperate questions.
I don't want none of this for my son; however, because of his "condition", his handicap, this may very well end up being his future.
As his brand new father, you can't imagine how devastated we are.
We will try to do everything humanly possible to where our son doesn't have to face such a dark, bleak, cold future; these images, however, play (and replay) constantly in our minds, leaving both Jenny and myself in a state of disbelief, shock, and burgeoning depression that threatens to consume us alive.
Why couldn't we have had a son who was born "normal"?? We aren't ready to face this; our son deserves to have a far better future than what people or doctors are already painting for us and for Clarkson!