I’ve been quiet lately. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged.
Sometimes I need peace. I need to think. Time to regroup. Time to breathe.
Life has the habit of reminding me about what is truly important.
Makes me hold our children tighter and for longer.
Makes me say yes rather than the usual no when they ask to sleep in the same bed. I then peek as they sleep and look at these two beautiful innocents who are part of me.
Our children are our whole world.
I think of my friends. People who I admire and would love to be like.
I am in awe of their strength. Their fortitude and temperance. Their spirit and love.
In the main we all skip along oblivious to the problems of our fellow man. We see a news article, we feel sorrow for a while yet on we go.
But then occasionally some pieces of news shock us to our core. They bring back terrible memories. They make us hold our loved ones tighter. Breathe deeper.
In recent weeks I’ve struggled to read the awful articles where people with Down’s syndrome’s lives are being quantified in terms of cold, hard cash.
Money makes the world go round so the song goes…but does it? Of course it doesn’t…without money the world would still turn.
These articles are all brought to the public eye through the introduction of the NIPT – the non invasive prenatal tests. I’ve blogged about them before.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists RCOG are arguing for the introduction of a more expensive roll-out of the NIPT partly on the grounds that it will save the NHS on the lifetime cost of caring for children with Down’s syndrome by detecting nearly 300 more children each year, of which a large number are projected to be aborted.
On 5th October at 9pm BBC2 (*coughs* please watch it!!) a documentary called “A World without Down’s syndrome” is being aired for the first time. This programme is presented by Sally Phillips (her of Bridget Jones’ fame no less, although for me she’ll always remind me of my youth watching “Smack the Pony” those were the days, I mean nights…I digress as ever!). Sally has three lovely sons, the eldest of whom is Olly. Olly has Down’s syndrome. In the documentary Sally investigates our national screening policy within pregnancies…specifically looking at the NIPT.
I’m tired of having to justifying my daughter’s right to life.
A person is a person no matter how small, no matter what their abilities. We are all people. Black or white, rich or poor, tall or short, fat or thin. Extra chromosomes or not. What does it really matter? We are who we are.
Because Evie has an extra chromosome does that make her worth less than others?
Are medical treatments to be denied to her because of her extra copy of chromosome 21?
Should people have weighed up the financial cost to society of her life before deciding to proceed with their pregnancies?
Because you know that’s what life is all about isn’t it? Money. 🙄
Money. Stupid money. It is a necessity. A necessary evil, but it makes us fight and brag. Who’s got the most…who’s the most important person because they have £100,000’s in their bank account.
I’m not naive enough to think that we can survive without it. But I will never judge the value of the right to life of a child or person dependent upon their bank balance or their likely cost on the public purse.
Evie has Down’s syndrome, an underactive thyroid and sensory processing disorder. She needs daily medicines. She has speech therapy, occupational therapy and Physiotherapy. Yes there is an associated cost with this. There is an associated cost with her having 1:1 at school.
Let’s look at her sister’s economic cost…
She has more daily medicines than Evie.
She has had far more hospital stays than Evie.
Yet she is chromosomally “perfect”.
Think of others with the “perfect” chromosomes…they could carry an unknown cancer gene, they could develop autism or dementia. They could have sight or hearing problems. They could have so many things “wrong” with them. They could get run over by a bus tomorrow and require years of intensive therapies.
So if we were able to prenatally diagnose these issues would we quantify their right to life in the terms of cash?
Who do we think we are to value someone’s worth on the crudest form – money.
You can’t value a person’s life like that.
We aren’t animals. We as humans think that we’re better than animals…we have morals and integrity, values. We’re the most intelligent species. Yet that intelligence blindsides many to the value that people can give.
I see the phrase “charity begins at home” being spouted out on social media. Yet most people misinterpret this…ignore its true meaning.
“Charity begins at home is the voice of the world: Yet is every man his greatest enemy.” — Sir Thomas Browne; Religi Medici 1642.
One frequently misquoted saying. The true meaning of this is that charity must be taught by parents to children. It was then and perhaps still is apparent that children are not being taught true charity. Parents give to their children instead of teaching them to give up material things in favour of those more needy. It actually teaches that we (ourselves and our families) should sacrifice for the benefit of others.
Together we are stronger. Variety teaches compassion and love. Life isn’t all about what you get out of it, it’s what you give back too.
If we were all the same, life would be terribly grey. Now I have nothing against grey per se but there’s nothing as beautiful as a splash of colour. Nature shows us that in so many ways…in our surroundings and in our children.