The Guardian: My baby, right or wrong

Mar 10, 2008 | Media

Rebecca Atkinson has not had her unborn baby tested for Down’s syndrome. She knows some people will say that was irresponsible. But how, as a disabled person herself, could she let her child’s physical condition decide whether or not it was born?

You’re pregnant. Hurrah! Stand back and await the unsolicited tummy tickles from strangers and remarks that you are “freakin’ massive” from old friends. Everyone is free to poke and ask and wonder. Have you had morning sickness? How much weight have you gained? Do you want a boy or a girl?

Questions, questions, questions. But if, like me, you are a disabled mother-to-be, there will be one more question from the well-meaning inquirer. Unlike the others, this may not actually be spoken, but it will be there, teetering on the tip of their tongue, while they wonder nervously whether it would be politically correct to take the plunge. What people really want to ask is: “Could that rogue of a gene that causes your sight loss have tumbled from one generation to the next, afflicting your unborn child with more than just your genetic predisposition for being bad-tempered or having big ears?”

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