Sunday, December 2, 2007


One of my gifts was born just over 15 months ago, without the foreknowledge of amniocentesis. Early this year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) recommended that all pregnant women should be offered screening for Down syndrome, regardless of their age. ACOG stated that “Down syndrome, a common disorder that is caused by an extra chromosome and can result in congenital heart defects and mental retardation. Screening for Down syndrome should occur before the 20th week of pregnancy.”

As a new mother of a child with Down syndrome, at the time, I began to really question the phenomenon of contemporary medicine. As a PR professional, I also began to think that I would initiate my plight to educate the public (particularly soon-to-be mothers) regarding the joy of raising a child that was identified as having a “common disorder” by an organization that many find to be honorable. Elliot was “identified” at birth. I knew nothing of Down syndrome, and, of course, was in a state of shock for quite some time, but imagine the dismay of a young mother who receives said identification while pregnant with her gift...knowing nothing of Down syndrome. The news is rarely delivered “properly,” false positives are common and many women who receive the diagnosis, terminate – 90% to be precise. Let us now just offer some tests...really, just for the hell of it.

So, I wrote my perfect pitch letter; I pulled my database of national contacts; I compiled the statistics and I sent the information out. Response? None. I am good at what I do. Why no response? Well, I take that back. A regional news assignment editor did respond to my email and said, “We’ll see.” But, nothing did ever materialize.

I was recently reading the latest edition of Parenting magazine. I have received a subscription for nearly 7 years now. I ordered it while pregnant with our first child. After Elliot was born, I began to search…and search…and search for national pieces in periodicals such as Parenting for human interest pieces regarding the gratification these special gifts deliver to the families, the friends and the people who surround them (and who they surround). I found nothing – until now, almost a year after the ACOG released their "recommendations." Kudos finally go out to Parenting: Go here to read a story that could have been written about our family. We love our boy so.

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