Saturday, September 06, 2008

But It's Saturday!

Hello, and welcome to a rare weekend post from me! This one is specifically for any of you who might have happened over here after reading an article in the Sunday New York Times about Governor Palin and the role in this election of funding for services for people with disabilities.

If you just read that one, please be sure to go back and read the last one that quoted me: Genetic Testing + Abortion = ???. It's a great article, part of a great series, and for the interested, the part about me includes this, "[A]s a woman who continued a pregnancy after learning that her child would have Down syndrome, she also has beliefs about the ethics of choosing, or not choosing, certain kinds of children. “I thought it would be morally wrong to have an abortion for a child that had a genetic disability,” said Sarahlynn."

OK, now that we're clear and all on the same page, welcome! Please feel free to look around. In particular, I'd invite you to check out my "Passionate Posts" linked over there in the sidebar and also some of the "Labels," like Ellie and Down syndrome.

Both of my daughters are such amazing people. They're both such blessings to me, I can't imagine my life without either of them. They have taught me so much about love, and myself, and have challenged me to grow in wonderful ways.

I hope you'll share my journey a little, here.

I support a culture of life in which fewer women face unintended pregnancies. I support education and access to birth control for all women who want or need it. I support social services supporting children and families, so that fewer women feel like they "can't" have children. I support funding for early intervention, education, and therapy services for children and adults with disabilities, carrying respect for life on through. I support full inclusion of people with disabilities into all walks of life, reminding others that people with disabilities are people first, people with a lot to offer our society.


Tara Marie said...

Now I know what article I will be reading first tomorrow morning, when I open up my Sunday NY Times.

I love your tag I support the exact same things as you.

One quote that I read when I was a young girl struck a cord with me....mostly because at that time in my life, I had no idea where babies really came from and that there could be a way for a Mother not to have one.

But mostly because as a young girl, the plea in this young Mother's voice and the images that showed a life of hit me right to the core of my young soul.

It was from a woman in Peru, who had just had her 18th baby and she asked the photographer that was in her remote village to "please tell me how not to have any more babies"

I'm so glad I stopped by to visit this on to read what adventures Miss Ellie and her little sister are up too!!

Peace and love, TM

Sarahlynn said...

It'll be in the "A" section. :)

Oh, my heart feels so heavy hearing that story. Thank you for sharing it to remind me of the very real crises women face here and elsewhere around the world. I should have added something about foreign aid to my tag line. That woman's plea is going to sit with me for a long time, too.

deb said...

I just wanted to pop in and say congrats because I saw the article this morning and knew it must be you.

Proud to say I knew how awesome you were YEARS before the NY Times readership did. :)

way to go!

stljoie said...

A year ago I received a picture of a dead baby with an announcement. the babys lungs and kidneys did not develope and there was no way for her to survive but for nine months this fetus grew and kicked and was maintained by the pacenta...but could not ever survive delivery. When I was a small girl my mother had a difficult pregnany that she valiantly tried to save but the baby convulsed in her and died and she carried it dead for another six weeks. For me as a child this was a harrowing nightmare. What in the world can be gained by continuing hopeless situations such as these. I support your decision to choose to have your daughter as well as I support decisions to not have an unhealthy child by others. I cannot see anything wrong with wanting to have a healthy child.

Sarahlynn said...

Thanks, Deb. :)

StLJoie, I too have heard harrowing stories like the two you shared. Having been through two pregnancies and knowing very well what a community experience that is, where everyone a pregnant woman meets from the cashier at the grocery store to the entire congregation at church feels comfortable talking to her about her pregnancy and the baby, I can imagine how difficult that must be. Hearing comments like, "You're just glowing," and "As long as it's just healthy, eh?" all day day long when you know full well that your baby is not would be a terrible experience.

I agree that there's nothing wrong with wanting to have a healthy child. However, taken as a whole, I have a quibble with this:

I support your decision to choose to have your daughter as well as I support decisions to not have an unhealthy child by others. I cannot see anything wrong with wanting to have a healthy child.

I, of course, believe that my daughter is quite healthy. (Well, except for the cold we're all sharing at the moment.)

How is she not? Sure, there are a few extra therapies and challenges. But there are no guarantees against that with any child!

My daughter is a beautiful, healthy, happy 4-year-old. She loves gymnastics, painting, horseback riding, Sunday School, and Pixar movies. She's a huge fan of kiddle rock group Ralph's World, and she loves reading more than almost anything else in the world.

In fact, she's learning to read, just like lots of other 4-year-olds. We expect her to grow up, graduate from high school, go on to get some sort of additional education, get a job, and be a healthy, happy, productive adult.

For me, there's a big difference between supporting someone's decision to terminate an otherwise wanted pregnancy because of fear of a nonfatal diagnosis, and supporting their legal right to do so.

Jennifer said...

I totally agree with your last paragraph. I feel that society needs to focus less on whether abortion should be legal, and work harder to help women to get the support they need to be able to have their children!

Anne said...

Wow, you're famous! The New York Times. Saralynn, I don't agree with a lot of what you say, but as Msgr. K said at mass yesterday you do learn more from respectful disagreement than those you agree with.

My hope, now that there is some research being done looking for a medical treatment for Down Syndrome that the abortion decision becomes moot. In the meantime, we are enjoying our son who is funny, sweet, and too smart for us a times.

Sarahlynn said...

Jennifer, yes!!! So often we focus on the decision - to continue a pregnancy or terminate it - as though it happens in a vacuum or on a whim. A lot of complex factors go into that decision, and we can address some of those factors.

Anne, I agree with Msgr. K. about respectful disagreement. And I think that respectful disagreement starts from putting aside our anger for a moment to really listen to each other and stop seeing each other as monsters because of ideological differences.

Most of us are sincere people with strongly held beliefs, and often we can find some common ground. For example, what did you think of the last paragraph of my post, the one in italics?

In response to the second part of your comment, we are in COMPLETE agreement. But did you know that many parents of kids with DS wouldn't pursue such a treatment if it became available? Even within our little community, there are so many rich differences.

My Ellie is also funny and sweet (so sweet it makes me cry!) and waaaaay too smart for us and everyone else. She is an expert at playing the system: she can tell when someone's going to let her get away with something (like not paying attention in Sunday School) because she's a little "different." And she milks that! I spend a lot of time telling people what she's capable of. She's capable of a lot!

Jennifer said...

I put this on the wrong post. . . here it is again, where it makes more sense.

The cute card . . . When I subbed in Early Childhood Education, I noticed that the kids are really good at this. The little boys and girls with CP and DS used this a lot. It was so much fun! I loved subbing for the kids with special needs. So many fun personalities--so cute! It is so hard to be firm with a little guy who is calling you "cupcake".

Sarahlynn said...

I followed. :)

Chris said...

I was so excited when I read your name in the Times article!

Excited that more people will be coming your way to hear your very wise words.

Sarahlynn said...

Thanks, Chris. :)

Anne said...

Yes, Sarahlynn, I've heard the sentiments about not pursuing treatments. The first time, shortly after Nick was born I couldn't believe it, but now I sort of "get it." But, we would still pursue any option that would help Nick live more independently and function better.

I hear you on playing the system. Nick knows all his letters and sounds and will demonstrate it when HE wants to not on command. This year he's in an inclusion class with a regular ed teacher and a special ed teacher. I was telling the special ed. teacher that he knows and understands a lot more than he lets on. She has an adult daughter with Down Syndrome and is well aware of the tactics kids use to get out of work. So far, she's kept him on his toes.

Sarahlynn said...

"we would still pursue any option that would help Nick live more independently and function better."

Us too!

Bridgett said...

My goodness, can I just quote your italicized paragraph to everyone I meet between now and November's election?? How simply put and completely clear.

Sarahlynn said...

Oh, please do! (And THANK YOU!)