Most people trust their doctor implicitly and will act on the advice they give, but when one pregnant woman was advised to abort her Down’s syndrome daughter, because her ‘quality of life would be horrible’, everything changed.
When Courtney Williams Baker, from Sanford Florida, was told that her daughter had Down’s syndrome at her 12-week scan, her doctor suggested a termination. Even when she refused, Courtney still felt pressured and started to dread every prenatal appointment.
Fast-forward 15 months and Emersyn ‘Emmy’ Faith is a smiley, smart and healthy little girl, and she helped her mother post a letter to the doctor who wanted her life terminated.
The mum-of-three then went on to share the letter with blogger Katrina Abianac, who has a Down’s syndrome son herself and is on a mission to tell doctors, ‘Don’t count your chromosomes before they hatch.’
Once the letter was shared on Abianac’s Facebook page Parker Myles, it went viral and has now been viewed thousands of times.
After putting pen to paper Courtney said ‘I just wrote the letter from my heart and posted it, and then from there it just kind of snowballed,’ she said. ‘I’m as shocked as anybody.’
Courtney felt that the doctor ‘needed to know how wrong he was’ and said that she will continue to speak out for all children, including those who are disabled or have Down’s syndrome.
Though not or ‘angry’ or ‘bitter’, Courtney is just ‘really sad’ that her doctor wasn’t filled with ‘perpetual awe’ over the tiny beating hearts he sees every day.
‘I’m sad you were so very wrong to say a baby with Down syndrome would decrease our quality of life,’ she wrote. ‘And I’m heartbroken you might have said that to a mommy even today. But I’m mostly sad you’ll never have the privilege of knowing my daughter, Emersyn.’
Courtney goes on to say that Emersyn has added to her family’s life and is a great little sister to Rhyan, 15, and Evynn, 11.
‘I came to you at the most difficult time in my life. I was terrified, anxious, and in complete despair.
I didn’t know the truth yet about my baby, and that’s what I desperately needed from you.
But instead of support and encouragement, you suggested we abort our child.
I told you her name and you asked us again if we understood how low our quality of life would be with a child with Down syndrome.
You suggested we reconsider our decision to continue the pregnancy. From that first visit, we dreaded our appointments.
The most difficult time in my life was made nearly unbearable because you never told me the truth.
My child was perfect.’
‘I don’t expect him to respond,’ said Courtney, who is keeping him anonymous because she wants her story to remain positive.
On the back of the poignant story other parents have taken to the Parker Myles Facebook page to share their own stories of parenting a child with Down’s syndrome.
One user said ‘My doctor told me and my husband you don’t have to keep her’
While another share her experience saying that ‘my doctor told me she will be a burden on you for the rest of your life’