This is the second part of a series about finding out our unborn son has Down syndrome through an abnormal ultrasound and a Harmony blood test. I wrote throughout the month and have kept every piece in tact so that it may help someone going through the same thing. Read part 1 here. Please note that these were my feelings at the time of receiving the news. Everyone grieves and processes life-altering news in different ways. Any hurtful or judgmental comments will be deleted.
The day after getting the positive Harmony test for T21 (Down Syndrome) I entered the angry stage of the grief process. I remember Andy praying over lunch and I ran out of the room because I was too mad, too hurt to pray.
I was plagued with questions. Was this my fault? Was God punishing me, punishing us? Or worse, was He punishing my son for my sins? Or was this a test? Did He give my son this disorder so that we would glorify Him by giving our son the best life possible? A couple of hours after lunch I fired off this email to our former pastor.
I’m not proud of how I felt or what I said. I thought about deleting parts of this email for this post because I don’t really have this negative of an opinion of myself, but I decided to leave it as is. I want others who are going through similar situations, who may be experiencing similar feelings, to hopefully be comforted by the extreme range of emotions I went through: confusion, guilt, self-loathing and most of all: anger.
I feel like I’ve entered the angry stage today, which is a worse feeling (to me) than the sad stage. I’m hoping you can help me with the following things that are on my mind.
David’s son became ill and died because of David’s sins. God punished David through making his child suffer. So, is it possible that we are being punished for our past mistakes through our son?
I know the answer will probably have something to do with grace and He showed grace through the birth of Solomon, but what about grace towards the child?
I listened to a sermon one time on sin and I had a hard time coming up with what my big sin was. I didn’t have the classics: adultery, gambling, etc. But I went home and thought about it and I realized that mine was superiority. I feel and like to feel superior to other people. Having a son with Down syndrome could probably be the most humbling thing that could happen to me. And when it comes to Andy, that man is about as perfect of a human that I’ve ever met, so I feel if we are being punished it’s because of me.
On the other hand…I once said (in my late teens early 20’s) that I would never be a preacher’s wife because preacher’s wives always die. Obviously a bit of an immature statement, but I did witness that quite a bit. Preachers and other people I knew that seemed the closest to God often seemed to have extraordinarily bad things happen to them. One example in particular, my brother’s friend Carlos…Carlos was the best example of a young Christian life that I can think of. Carlos got a rare form of lung cancer as a teenager and he died shortly after high school. I remember a lot of parents saying things like “he was sent here for the kids”. I disagreed.
When bad things happen I’ve subscribed to the “we live in a fallen world” theory and disease and accidents kind of randomly happen to different people. I feel like it’s the easiest theory to subscribe to.
But today I’m struggling big time. I feel that it is possible that God is either punishing us or because our faith is strong, God is allowing this to happen to us so that we can show the world our faith despite the extraordinary circumstances that we are facing (like Job).
Any light you could shed on this would be greatly appreciated.
Dan called me a few hours later. He reminded me that we had to read the Old Testament through the eyes of the New Testament and the grace that Jesus brought into the world. If we were being punished for something, God would not punish our son.
As for the second part, Dan assured me that he wouldn’t test our faith by purposefully giving our son a life-altering disorder.
I still had (and still have) questions, but I felt my anger start to fade. My son didn’t have this disorder because of me, God didn’t give my son this disorder in order to test my faith or in order for me to bring Him glory (even though that can be one of the many good things that come from this.)
I believe He knew our son before he was conceived, He knew him in His image, He knew him without Down Syndrome. I believe that when our son returns to heaven one day (hopefully a long time from now) he will walk on the streets of paradise without a disability. I say this knowing that if he is born with Down Syndrome, I will probably never be able to picture him (or even want to picture him) any other way.
I believe that our son’s condition was not part of God’s plan. I believe that he is a victim of the fallen world we live in. I also believe that victims of disease and disorders can have beautiful and meaningful lives. In fact, there are statistics that show his life (and ours too) will likely be happier than those who do not posses an extra chromosome. I think it’s why it’s called the magical chromosome…how great is that? So, I am not angry.
There is one thing I know for sure: No matter what my son’s circumstances are here on earth, healthy or not, disabled or fully-abled, I know God is with him and He is with us.
For the parents out there going through a positive prenatal Down Syndrome test, I still struggle with anger, but it is not because of the Down Syndrome. My anger flares when someone says something that I perceive to be either ignorant, hurtful or both. It also comes raging back over the things people don’t say. I know no one is perfect and I need to work on my patience and grace.
Read Part One, Receiving the News, here.
Please note that these were my feelings at the time of receiving the news. Everyone grieves and processes life-altering news in different ways. Any hurtful or judgmental comments will be deleted.