Lynné Arehart (wife of Adam Arehart, one of St. Mary’s Campus Ministers) shares her story of her daughter’s prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis.
I cannot help but to have my heart go out to all those who have suffered from the trauma of abortion. I can only hope that they know how much they are loved and how precious they are in their Father’s eyes. Sadly, statistics show that as soon as a mother finds out her baby will have a birth defect, it is far more likely that she will decide to end her baby’s life than to guard and keep it.
Here is my story:
I was 11 weeks pregnant with my fourth child when I found out that Cora had Down syndrome. It pains me to say that I was heartbroken. At the news of her prognosis, it was as if that most intimate mystery of motherhood, that bond between the mother and the child in her womb felt instantaneously severed. I was grieving. In a way, there was a death of my IDEA of what every mother dreams of. That first glimpse of your perfect little baby. The awe inspiring beauty that stops your breath and wipes away all the pain that you had endured during labor. I could no longer envision that joy for myself and my husband – that amazing moment that we’d come to expect after having three other children. I felt like a failure. I convinced myself that I had failed to produce a “normal” child.
When I look back on those times, I almost feel ashamed to admit that I had such feelings of sadness. However, because I experienced that pain, I can now empathize and I can suffer with those who are struggling with an unwelcome prenatal diagnosis. God has entered that shame and healed it, transformed it into a source of compassion for those who struggle with feelings like this. I urge moms and dads who are struggling to be patient and trusting enough to let their preconceived notions of normal, beautiful, or perfect, to be renewed, humbled, and redeemed. For anybody experiencing these feelings right now, I assure you that you’re never alone. God has chosen you! Your present pain will become a cause for rejoicing. Any life is worth any struggle. I can’t imagine our family without this smile. I am so proud and honored that God chose ME to give life to this beautiful child.
Editor’s Note: October is Pro-Life Month. The church teachers that all life is precious, from conception until natural death. Because of the increased availability of prenatal screening, many unborn children with genetic abnormalities are at risk of abortion. For example, in Iceland, nearly 100 percent of women who receive a positive test for Down syndrome choose to terminate the pregnancy. In Denmark, 98 percent of pregnancies with a Down syndrome diagnosis are terminated. In France, it’s 77 percent, and in the United States it’s 67 percent.