A Woman’s Right to Choose

We talk about ‘a woman’s right to choose’. Eight and a half years ago I exercised my ‘woman’s right to choose’ to the fullest extent. I chose to continue with my pregnancy knowing that my child would have Down’s Syndrome.
 

I am a rational adult. Given accurate and balanced information (that’s another story in itself) I am perfectly capable of evaluating the data and weighing up the pros and cons of any situation or argument. I made a conscious, rational choice in the full knowledge of what I was doing.
I made my choice knowing that I would not have to sacrifice my life, because nothing feels like a sacrifice when you have made the right choice.
I made my choice knowing that my son would not be a burden to me; he would be my child. Yes, I would have to look after him for longer, and he would always need more help than most, but he would bring me just as much joy, and love, and pride, as his brother and sister.
I made my choice in the knowledge that my son need not be a burden to you, the taxpayer, when he grows up (let’s face it, that’s what you mean when you talk about a burden on ‘the state’ or ‘the NHS’). We, his parents, are rational adults – we would plan ahead for his future, for when we are no longer here. I made my choice in the knowledge that my family also pays its share of tax (we don’t begrudge extra care to others who need more than we do, not even those who have smoked, drunk, or drugged themselves into an early decline – everyone has their frailties. And while we’re talking about cost to the state, let’s consider how few, if any, adults with Down’s Syndrome will end up in prison – it’s a valid point).
 I made my choice aware that my life would not perfect: it never has been, but then, whose is? Life does not have to be perfect to be happy. When you make the choice that is right for you, it is much easier to find moments of contentment day-to-day: this is the root of happiness.
So, if you see me and my son hand-in-hand in the supermarket or at the park, please accept that this is what a ‘woman’s right to choose’ sometimes looks like.

Because a ‘choice’ where only one alternative is deemed acceptable, is no choice at all.

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17 thoughts on “A Woman’s Right to Choose

  1. Wonderfully, beautifully honest Kerry, thanks for that. I particularly like your point about taxpayers. I think that this is such a fundamental truth. It always pains me when tax is only ever seen as a burden, something to be avoided when in reality it underpins what makes us civilised. We should be proud to pay tax when it gives life and support to the frail… Oh, and I smoke!!

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  2. Absolutely. This is what people fail to understand, that choice is being eroded for many women who want to continue. As soon as we bring this up we get accused of being pro-life, but this is something very very different.

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    • Absolutely. This issue is so … vast, and intertwined, I could go on forever and still not touch the sides of it. The insidious control of women throughout their lives. That’s before we even touch on the disability civil rights issues inherent in this, too

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  3. I love this. You make such a beautiful point about the importance of protecting the right to choose. Continuing the pregnancy couldn’t have been a decision anyone but you (and your family) could make.
    #postsfromtheheart

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    • Absolutely – that’s why I believe better information needs to be provided – up-to-date,accurate, and balanced information about more than just the worst-case-scenario medical facts. Many parents still aren’t getting this, sadly Xx

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    • Thank you. Indeed choice can go both ways (or it isn’t really a choice, is it), which is why I’d like to see accurate and balanced information given to all parents, so they will be in the best position to make the right decision for them, without facing regrets later. At the moment this isn’t always happening. Some parents get only negative information and are offered no support, some are almost herded down the route towards termination by the attitude of their medical professionals xx

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      • You’re so right. Two of my friends have had the same experience and are advocates for positive stories and lives. It’s different not negative. I hope we aren’t phasing out different. Let’s work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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  4. Kerry thank you for highlighting such a valuable point. Your decision was only yours to make and you are right it is so easy for mums to be, to feel swayed by popular but often misinformed opinion. This is a wonderful, positive and heart warming post. #PostsFromTheHeart

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    • Thank you so much. I’m pleased it has struck a positive note with you. When expressing opinions like this, one can end up being accused of being’anti-woman’ or ‘pro-life’ (in a negative sense) and so on, and n not, is just pro real choice xx

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