Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Would I have a disabled child knowingly?

I may like all these ideas about treating disabled people as equals, and not aborting kids simply because they have disabilities (as opposed to because you don't think you could take care of *any* kid at this point in your life)...but if push came to shove, and I conceived a kid that could be diagnosed in the womb with a disability (probably Down's or some other chromosomal disorder, possibly dwarfism or Siamese twins or other physical problems detectable via ultrasound), would I have the kid anyway?

I'd probably be concerned about my financial resources. Would I be able to insure such a child? Health insurance these days is cruel: if you have a chronic or genetic problem, you're more likely to be on your own, or paying through the roof, than someone less in need of services. That's because health insurance is a for-profit venture; the more they get paid and the less they pay, the better. Knowingly having a kid with a disability when I could have aborted it might lead to insurance companies being reluctant to take me and the kid.

The kid would also get picked on in school, quite likely, or else I'd have to home-school it. Even if I tried my best to treat the kid as a regular person, the kid would get the message of being defective from the outside.

And getting good services for the kid, given the corruption, abuse, and excessive meddling often found in the disability services industry, wouldn't be easy.

But...the thought of having even a normal kid frightens me.

What if the normal kid lies to me and manipulates me? Tantrums and attacks me? Gets into drugs and alcohol as a teenager and drops out of school? Murders a lover or ex-lover out of revenge? Begs me for money all the time? Has serious separation anxiety? Ends up neurotic despite being physically and mentally nondisabled from all reasonable objective external measures, just like I was as a kid? Keeps me up all night?

Any kid could destroy one's sanity and bank account in a flash.

Or, a kid conceived without a disabling condition could unexpectedly acquire one - cerebral palsy from a complicated birth or infant jaundice or a high fever, or paralysis from a sports injury.

I can't really say what I'd do if I were presented with a disabled kid whose disability was identifiable in the womb. At this stage in my life, any kid is a frightening prospect. But, as much as I'd want to think I care and would like to see the world change when it comes to disabilities, I might be scared off from willingly having a substantially disabled child by the problem of health insurance, if nothing else.

But hopefully health insurance and disability services won't stay as crappy as they are now.


Axinar said...

My great-aunt used to say I would make a WONDERFUL parent to a normal child, but if that child had any problems whatsoever I would be in heap big trouble.

Not everyone is cut out to be a parent, disabled child or otherwise.

I'm not entirely sure how I would react either if faced with helping to make a decision on whether or not to abort a "disabled" child.

Even if I were to have a "normal" child I've surmised that child may too be very intelligent, creative, wound-up, and won't get along with his or her peers.

Yes, if you have doubts, it might be best to pass on the whole parenthood thing.

abfh said...

The fact that so many people are asking that question says much more about our society, I think, than about the people who are asking it.

reform_normal said...

Yeah...the main reasons why I think a disabled child would likely be harder to raise are due to the lack of disability support in our society, which is a sign that society doesn't value caring for people who aren't necessarily profitable. If you have a billion and a half able-bodied Chinese wage slaves, what do you need disabled Americans for? That's probably the effective attitude of the powerful.

Nathan said...

I must say that what you say is so true. I have a disabled child due to an accident (severely disabled) and it is NOT fun and games. I love him to bits and cannot imagine my life without him B U T (yes, the but part) everyone dies sometime but it is a horrible life to live waiting for your child to die because you know he cannot live very long (lungs, muscle atrophy etc).
Do not have a child knowing he or she is disabled. You are not a hero and you are certainly not a saint. I am convinced that this is probably a horrible thing to say and I am not pro-abortion, however, if you are presented with a choice, make an INFORMED decision. Aborting a pregnancy with a very real possibility of the baby having disabilities is not wrong for you or the baby. The world is a very cruel place and in still in this day and age, there is no place for the less than normal. I applaud you for thinking about this. I wish more people would. When you have a child it is for life. It is merely an extension of yourself and therefor saying you will send your disabled child to a home must not be an option. Good Luck