Generation Cedar

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a girl or a boy, just as long as it’s healthy.”

Do you have any idea how loaded, how presumptuous that statement is?  And we hear it all the time.  I’ve said it myself.

Translation?  “Only healthy children are a blessing”. And that’s not what God’s Word says.

Do you want to see the slippery slope of a seemingly minor, yet glaring ethical error?

Countless babies with disabilities are being aborted every year. Worse than that, women are encouraged, counseled and made to believe “it’s the best thing”!  And that slope keeps getting steeper.

Because now we have to answer, “what’s a disability?”  Statistics show that parents abort children with an extra finger, a club foot, a facial abnormality, etc.

This is not a new idea, though.  Margaret Sanger unashamedly campaigned to eradicate, through birth control, “the defective and diseased elements of humanity”.

The logical results are upon us as we put to death millions of “the least of these”.  And following that we find ourselves on the brink of genetic engineering (“I already have a brown-eyed boy, I want a blue-eyed girl.”)  Once we started playing God, there’s no stopping.

At The Baby Conference, R.C. Sproul, Jr. shared a raw and heartfelt message about his little girl who has “smooth brain”.  She is 13, wears diapers, must be fed and needs help walking.  She also has violent seizures.

Paraphrasing his story:

“Her nickname is ‘Princess Happy’, because her smile is so big when I go to her bed each morning, that her eyes are nearly shut.  I reach down and scoop that baby up in my arms.  “Daddy made you pancakes, Shannon.”  I remember Jesus’ words…”I was hungry and you fed me…inasmuch as you did it unto the least of these, you did it unto Me.”

I look at Shannon again and I can’t believe the God of the universe would give me this opportunity to minister to Him…every day.  That he would tell us ‘Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven’, and here, Shannon is so innocent–she is my spiritual better, constantly showing me so much about the Kingdom.  I beg the Lord, “Please, please don’t take her.”

We don’t just break the heart of God when we kill these little babies who are less than perfect, but we rob ourselves of perhaps the greatest means God would use to show us His Kingdom, to keep us tender, to give us opportunity to minister to Him through the least of these, to allow us to embrace the cross of suffering and show the world the very picture of His mercy on us.  God’s perfect plan for us involves imperfection.  He has always delighted to use the weakest among us to demonstrate the greatness of Himself.

Our culture says “avoid hardship, eliminate suffering“.  We buy it, banish all sympathy for the child that will die to make a mother’s life easier, then use sympathy for ourselves to justify our heinous act.

Jesus Christ says, “Rejoice in your sufferings…”

God have mercy on us for our cruelty and ignorance.

God help us to say, “It doesn’t matter.  God is sending us the perfect child.”

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56 Responses

  1. Oh Kelly,
    The statistics on this are astounding! Over 90% of down syndrome babies are now aborted. That’s unbelievable. I have heard these “justifications” for not bringing these children into the world. It usually has to do with avoiding suffering. What a dangerous road we are going down as a society. Thanks for writing about hard things.

  2. What a beautiful post! And a wakeup call to the body of Christ to fight….on our knees, with our mouth and through our votes!

  3. And millions of children are aborted the world over because they’re the “wrong” sex. So is that common phrase “it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl, as long as it’s healthy” a slippery slope? Or a stop measure to gender driven abortions? It’s a matter of perspective. That reply is given in response to a specific question, “Do you want a boy or a girl” to neutralize any thought of gender “selectivity”. Step Up or Step Down the slope?

    My point is I don’t see much virtue in regulating our speech to that extreme. I have said it, not because I would consider health or disability grounds for abortion. But because health does matter, in terms of preparation, worry, planning etc., where gender simply does not.

    1. That’s how I’ve always interpreted people who say, “I don’t care if it’s a girl or boy, so long as it’s healthy…” because they are just trying to say that they would be happy with a boy or a girl. The healthy addendum just seems to be something extra to say, because of course everyone hopes their child is healthy.

      But I do get your point, Kelly.

      1. Kacie,

        “The healthy addendum just seems to be something extra to say, because of course everyone hopes their child is healthy.”

        Perhaps it’s just extra, perhaps not. Of course we all would prefer healthy children, and that is not the issue for debate here. The fact is that statistics prove that we (meaning “in general, as a society”), do in fact, care if are children are not healthy. The rate for aborting a disabled child is astronomical. I think we are verbalizing a reality of our hearts, generally speaking.

        To think further, doctors are required to offer their pregnant patients a test to try to determine if the baby has certain disabilities (Down Syn. being the most common). Even though this test has a 50% failure rate (!!!) many, many women take the test and choose to abort what they believe is a less-than-perfect baby.

        So, the issue is not really about our terminology–that was basically just an intro into the post. But we don’t need to be deceived about how much Americans care about having it their way.

        1. You’re thinking of the triple screen. That’s only the first-level test for DS; it doesn’t rule in DS but it can more or less rule it out. A doctor would urge a woman to have amniocentisis before she actually terminated a pregnancy, if she was thinking of terminating for that reason. Amnio is considered conclusive.

  4. I needed this, thank you. I am 36 and I have an ultrasound tomarrow. I know the risks are low. But I want to be prepared for what I will say to the tech, or Doctor if something is questionable. I want to have a God honoring response.I need to praise Him with the comfortable and praise Him when its uncomfortable.Please pray for me to have courage and holy boldness,I will need it.

  5. I complete agree. One of my sons is cleft-affected. Every time I hear about a baby being aborted because of cleft lip or cleft palate, I feel physically ill. My son is so much more than his clefting.

  6. I completely agree. My family works with equine assisted therapy- enjoying the love and eagerness of many precious treasures from our Lord. We also have a child that was born with severe club foot. She is a blessing to us and to all who meet her. God’s people must follow the wisdom of 2 Chronicles 7:14- falling on our knees to humble ourselves and pray, seek His face, and repent..only then will God hear from Heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land. We are all guilty of not standing in the gap for the least of these. Thank you for this post.

  7. Wow! Thank you Kelly. I just love your blog! I do personally believe we do have to regulate our speech to that extreme. Proverbs 18:20-21 supports this :”A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil]. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].” Blessings!

  8. I come from a country where ‘healthy’ female children are aborted because some people consider them liabilities. You can only imagine what happens to children with ‘disabilities’
    I do not know if I should do this without asking her, but I have seen someone I consider a very godly, wise and compassionate woman who lives out her faith to me. She has an adopted little girl who is ‘disabled’. And from another country. This little girl who is a teen now knits, swims, plays the piano. All skills many ‘normal’ people older than her do not have. Her amazing mother is Diane of Tomato Soup Cake blog. She would consider herself a woman of simple faith, but she is very inspirational. She certainly inspires me. She is an example of what can be done by one faithful christian woman and adoption and an amazing family.

    1. Sylvia.. you humble me girl, you really do♥

      But you know, my daughter Millen has added so much to our family, it’s truly impossible to express. One of my daughters once said that “we wouldn’t be US” without Millen. Her daddy insists she isn’t handicapped- she’s a higher life form and he’s only just barely kidding.

      I think folks understand that the Lord can bless a family through a handicapped or health-involved child, but they think of that blessing in much the same way as a tragedy like a car accident or a foreclosure or job loss can ultimately lead to blessing in one’s life. Kinda like “the Lord will bring me through this awful thing and mature me in the process.” But the blessing of parenting a handicapped child is just so much more, so much richer than that. My daughter Millen is a joy and a blessing just because of the beautiful light of her spirit and personality, not because of anything I have learned though knowing her and parenting her. Being her mother has not been a hardship in any way, shape or form… it has been one of the greatest honors and privileges of my life. I know exactly how RC Sproul feels about his “Princess Happy,” because it’s I feel just the same about my own little princess. I pity those who choose to abort their potentially handicapped children… what joy they have robbed themselves of!

    2. Sylvia,

      Thank you for taking time to share that sweet word about Diane. And thanks to you, Diane, for giving us just a peep into your joy as a parent!

      I hope you will chime in on the next post as I try to discuss ways the entire body of Christ is commanded to help families who are raising special needs children.

  9. Important topic, Kelly.

    I recall hearing evangelist David Ring once warn parents against “so long as it’s healthy” attitudes concerning our children.

    The Lord has used Mr. Ring’s condition of cerebral palsy to touch the lives of many people.

    Lord, give us eyes to see and value people the way You do.

  10. Hi Kelly,

    I’ve been reading and loving your blog for well over a year now and this is the first time I can remember you saying anything that I’ve disagreed with.

    I totally agree that it is a tragedy that babies with disabilities are routinely aborted. What I do not agree with is that when a parent says, “I don’t care whether it’s a girl or a boy, just so long as it is healthy,” that they are implying that they would abort or disdain their own disabled child or that they would harbor negative feelings about someone else’s disabled child. I first saw this kind of thinking in a story a young mother shared in Keeper’s at Home Magazine. This mom had a baby who had Down’s Syndrome and was at some kind of working gathering with her little girl. The ladies were talking to a pregnant woman who in the course of the conversation made the “As long as it’s healthy” statement. The mom of the Down’s Syndrome baby was very upset and had to slip out of the room, feeling like the ladies were putting her baby down.

    My feeling is that this kind of thought is thin skinned to the extreme. When I’m pregnant, I usually don’t care if I’m having a boy or girl, and I DESPERATELY desire for them to be healthy!!!!! I long for them not to be still born. I long for them to have all of their fingers and toes. I long for their hearts to function correctly and for their intestines to be properly attached. I cannot apologize for wanting my child to be healthy!

    Kelly, don’t you want your babies to be healthy? Will you be just as pleased when you conceive to conceive a child who will face a lifetime of medical issues as one who will enjoy good health? I would not, not for my sake, but for the CHILD’s sake. I pray when I’m pregnant that the LORD will cause my baby to grow strong and well. That said, I also pray that if my child has disabilities that He will give us wisdom, strength and peace to nurture them to their fullest potential.

    It is not wrong to desire healthy children. It is wrong to throw away children because they are unhealthy.

    1. I’m thinking this isn’t so much about our natural hopes for each child we carry in our womb. It’s more about making sure our words reflect God’s love and truth. I’m expecting my sixth baby and I have 4 sons and 1 daughter (order: boy, girl, boy, boy, boy). I would be tickled pink (pardon the pun) to have another daughter but wow do I ever love my boys. I pray for the health of this baby too because that would be wonderful too. But, I feel challenged to let my words reflect God’s heart and I too have erred in this by repeating catch phrases to satisfy all the inquiring minds. I think many folks believe we are just “trying for a girl again” and this isn’t true at all. We are welcoming another child as a blessing from the Lord, allowing Him to shape our family regardless of gender and I am challenged to say regardless of health too. I should really make sure that my words reflect that. I could honestly say to one of these inquiring minds: “Yes, wouldn’t it be something to have another daughter after 3 boys in a row? It would be so much fun to have little dresses to hang on the line and bows to place in her hair. The boys would dote over her I’m sure. They’re such wonderful boys. On the other hand, it would also be wonderful to have another boy because we are so blessed by our sons! Yes, it’s true that health is a blessing and I am praying that this baby is healthy. But, I have to say that I believe each child is a blessing from God and I want to see each of my children, regardless of gender or health status, as He sees them! I welcome His plan for us.” Now, that’s an honest, Christ-honouring response (sorry I know Canadian spelling…). Bless you Beth for bringing up our natural desires… we are constantly learning to take captive each thought and to shine His light! I want the words of my mouth but also the meditations of my heart to be pleasing to Him as I submit to His plan. 🙂

  11. It is not wrong to desire healthy children. It is wrong to throw away children because they are unhealthy.

    There is no sin in asking the Lord to give us healthy children. Of course we all desire for our children to be born without physical defects or other health problems.

    I believe the point of Kelly’s post is that we don’t always understand what God is doing by gifting a less than healthy child to a family and we need to be more sensitive and accepting of whatever He chooses for us.

  12. Beth,

    Heather stated is well, but yes, I totally agree with your statement: It is not wrong to desire healthy children.”

    Sometimes it’s shocking for us to read a black and white statement like I made. And I completely understand your point about it, and yes, I long for healthy children. But I do think our vocabulary is not inclusive enough of the sovereignty of God and I do think it affects how we think about things. And just like your example demonstrates, our terminology has implied meaning that we have to treat very carefully.

    I think the caveat is in the specific words “as long as it’s healthy”.

    Perhaps we could word that differently, still longing for a healthy baby but considering that non-healthy baby could possible be a bigger blessing than we could ever imagine.

    We just have to ask, “Why are children with disabilities aborted” more and more, if not for our attitude toward them? What does a lifetime of “as long it’s healthy” do to us when we discover that our baby is not healthy?

    So, yes, I take your point completely and agree. But I’m not sure I’m ready to retract my statement. Thinking about it…thanks for the challenge.

  13. I was born with a mild to moderate hearing loss.When I was 3 I still didn’t talk at all. I was diagnosed as mildly retarted until kindergarten when the teacher realizied I just couldnt hear. My mom had thought this all along but the DR. woulnd’t listen to her. I have 5 blessing so far all with perfecty but it really wouldn’t matter if they couldn’t. I have always known I was different than the other kids at school and it made me closer to God.

  14. Kelly (a/k/a Word Warrior),

    I don’t agree with all of your views, but can say wholeheartedly say what a joy it is to know my husband’s adult cousin with Down syndrome, Greg, for the last 25 years.

    Alex and Greg lived about 30 miles apart and Alex often spent 2 week blocks in the summer with him. They enjoyed the usual boy things together and when Alex was about 7 years old (Greg is 3 years older), he realized Greg was “different”. Greg went to school, but wasn’t learning how to read, write, or etc., but Alex didn’t care. They could still wrestle, play war, Cowboys & Indians, T-ball…Greg was a beloved member of a close-knit Roman Catholic family.

    The first time I saw Greg, my husband, Alex, and I were dating. We took Greg to see the movie ET (that’ll date us ). When I started crying, he handed me a kleenex and then a piece of gum.

    Greg is in his 50’s now (the docs when he was born said he’d never make 30) and still nearly non-verbal, although he can communicate with gestures and answer yes/no questions. A friend of mine told me that he was studying everything about our wedding very intently, for example.

    He loves the Chicago Cubs and Green Bay Packers (and does follow quite a bit of the games), as well as Cleary’s Frozen Custard.

    We moved away from his neck of the woods a few months after we married, and now only see Greg only a couple of years times a year. Although he isn’t perfect (and can throw a whale of a temper trantrum from time to time), I’ve never met anyone with his sweet and innocent spirit.

    One unknown, say two of his aunts (both trained as special education teachers, one still working in the field) is that if he had had access to the special education services available today, who knows how far he might have progressed. He might be verbal, have a part-time job, live in a group home or semi-independent living situation or even drive a car. But that doesn’t matter to anyone who cares about him.

    I think it’s ridiculous to abort Down syndrome babies for any reason (even if a couple don’t feel they can parent such a child, there are waiting lists of couples wanting to adopt them, but these children often have much more potential than the parents who want “designer babies” give them credit for and there are so many more services to help raise them. (Sorry if this offends many of you, but I’m glad to know that some of our family’s tax dollars provide services for developmentally disabled children.

  15. Thank you so much for saying this! I have always hated that statement. I always want to ask: What if they’re not healthy.
    For a long time, I judged those parents who had disabled/disordered children they didn’t know how to care for. I thought: Lord, give me a child like that, not them! I would know what they need. (I was a Speech Pathologist in my pre-mommy life.)
    I now have three adoptees with unique learning challenges, 1 bio daughter with auditory processing disorder, and 1 bio daughter w/ ADD. HA! I am eating my words big time! Although I know what to do to help them and how to school them, I have to rely on the Lord hourly for patience. Better are those loving patient parents who didn’t know what they were doing! How prideful I was.

  16. WW, i understand where you are coming from completely! I don’t think you were saying that it is wrong to pray for the health of our children BUT i think our culture has gone WAY past that point in so many ways that are not pleasing to the Lord and do not reflect His truth! it is connected to the idea that some people throughout modern history think we can and should control such things: how many children, when to have them, boy, girl, blue eyes, brown, healthy, medically needy, don’t run fast enough, not tall enough, wrong color? Where does it end? As you know, my oldest has some learning and social challenges. I cannot imagine life without him just as he is! He is a complete blessing from the Lord like all his brothers and sisters! I remember hearing Norm Wakefield talk about what their daughter who has DS has taught them! So beautiful! My nephew was adopted from Russia. He has cleft palette and lip and had to have heart surgery. It completely floored my brother and his wife when the judge actually asked them why they wanted “this” child when no one else in his family did! He is a wonderful beautiful boy just as he is! A joy and blessing. Really and truly, not one of us is “normal” or “perfect” before God. We are born completely “disabled” spiritually. All of us have things that make us different from one another. some things are just more visible than others. such an encouragement to seek the Lord and love like He loves!!!! blessings, jen in al

  17. The Lord gave me this verse when I was pregnant with my third child and worried about their health:

    “Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?”
    Exodus 4:11

    It gave me so much comfort to be reminded that the Lord was making the person that I was pregnant with. No matter the outcome the Lord would make no mistakes.

  18. When I was 11 weeks pregnant with my first son, I got fifth’s disease. I was told by the doctor that my pregnancy needed to be monitored bc this can result in birth defects. A nurse in the office informed me it could result in retardation and many people would prefer to abort in this scenario since I was early on in the pregnancy. She told me I was young and could have more. Abortion was never a choice for me, as I have been vehemently opposed to it for as long as I can remember. I didn’t even think about it. We monitored the pregnancy and everything appeared fine. I went into labor unexpectedly and delivered my son at 26 weeks. He IS healthy but has cerebral palsy. It is a journey that unless you have taken it, you cannot imagine it. It is more than volunteering in a special needs home; it is 24 hours a day. It is really physical work, as well as mentally and emotionally (and financially)draining. It is a hard journey that frankly few people would choose, but now that it has been given to me I would not change it. I know that I am really only a companion – the real journey belongs to my son who will have to navigate this world in his own way. It means being tough when you want to be gentle, saying “get up,” “keep going,” “try harder.”

    I agree whole-heartedly with the commenter who said it is not wrong to hope for a healthy child – so long as we do not harm them if they are not.

  19. I can see your point, Kelly. I like replying with, “We’ll take whatever God gives us.”

    What I don’t understand is that people choose to abort “unhealthy” babies, but don’t even consider what they’d do should a child become unhealthy after birth. Cancer, accidents, disease…all these things can cause anyone previously “normal” to become disabled. Terri Shaivo wasn’t born disabled, after all.

    I read stories all the time about mothers who were told they should consider abortion because their baby is unwell in some way only to give birth to a perfectly healthy baby, or the disability isn’t that bad, or they find such joy in raising their disabled child.

    One of my favorite true stories is “The Woman Who Willed a Miracle” (you can watch it on youtube). You gotta watch it!

  20. oh boy, I am not Christian, but you have me balling my eyes out with this one.

    Although the daily challenges of raising a severely disabled son often get the better of me and are harder than i could have ever imagined, he is a wonderful little boy who deserves a chance at life just like every other child.

    I cant bare it when i hear of people aborting babies for mild deformities and DS.

    Like my friend said “do we really only want to be parents if our children are perfect?”

  21. We just adopted a “perfect” little baby boy with a club foot. His birth mom, who is a drug addict, had aborted three babies already, but in His great mercy, God saved our son. We don’t know what the future holds for him, he seems healthy other than the foot, but there is certainly the potential there for other issues. But, when the attorney sent us the profile, fully expecting us to say no, we knew we were looking at our son. It has been my joy and privilege to take him to the doctor each week for his new cast. Now we have our new shoes with the bar between the feet to keep his new foot straight. He is such a blessing and joy to us, and we can not imagine not having him in our lives. Such a heart breaking world we live in where mothers and fathers sacrifice God’s greatest blessings for the thought of an “easy” life.

  22. What a great post. I have a child with life threatening disabilities. Often times people see him for only his disabilities and cant see him for his abilities.. And let me tell you he has some great ones! Without him, my relationshipw ith God wouldnt be quite what it is today. He has shown me things that no other person can and he has made my faith grow so much..

  23. What a timely post. My sister-in-law’s twin sister is 5 months pregnant. She just found out her baby has hydro-syphalis(sp?) and down syndrome. She is unmarried and has a daughter already. We were told she doesn’t know what she is going to do. It sounds like she isn’t considering abortion (only because she is too far along). During her own birth she suffered oxygen loss, and is what most people call “slow”. She has a hard time taking care of herself and her daughter already. Right now she is living with my brother and sister in law.
    When I heard about her baby my immediate thought was “I’ll take him!” When I told my husband the news, he said “You want him don’t you? Ask God and trust in his response.” I’m having a hard time praying about it. My human emotions are getting all tangled up and I keep waffling in what I want. Pray that I can hear God’s wisdom and trust in his answer.

  24. This post is special to me~

    When I was with child at age 39 due to give birth at age 40 so many family members would ask~ What if the baby has Downs~ and I would reply with a tilted head *What If*
    I gave birth to a 10 pounder with no special needs~ Within 7 months I was with child again~ Thank you Lord~ Anyways the same question came out of their mouths~ This time they attached with your age~ Silly people~
    We did give birth to our Stephen~ face of an angel and He has Downs~ I never ever noticed~ Stephen did all that his eldest brother did~ He ate~ He slept~ He cried~ He had to have diaper changes~ He was another blessing~
    We had a third boy within 2 years~ He did all his brothers did as well~ Another blessing~ and at 51 I pray that we will have another blessing~ Age doesn’t matter here~ My husbands cousins wife had a Downs baby and she was 18~ The family has quieted down and we move on with a joyful life with boys~
    Abort NEVER an option~ God gives and I praise HIM
    Thanks for posting and Blessings

  25. I have a child w/ Down syndrome. She is a blessing! I actually feel bad for people who don’t have anyone w/ Down syndrome in their family.

    If someone is 100% sure they couldn’t handle a child w/ special needs, why can’t they just put the child up for adoption? Why would anyone ever choose abortion. I’ll never understand it as long as I live. There are many willing families out there looking to adopt children w/ special needs. And even if there weren’t and the child had to stay in an orphanage, it’s still better than being aborted.

    1. there are some families willing to adopt children with special needs. But the majority do not. In China they’ve relaxed the rules considerably in terms of who is fit to adopt a healthy child vs who will adopt a special needs one.

      If you feel strongly about helping out special needs children who need help then you should consider raising money to cover the cost of adopting them or consider adopting one yourself.

  26. Another difficulty with this line of thinking, everything riding on physical perfection, is also why it’s become so incredibly expensive to have a baby period. (I realize lots of families have chosen home-birth, and I’m just going to tell you right now you’re better women than I am. 😉 )

    But for those of us who are the standard ob/hospital delivery kind of gals, the pressure for endless testing (read: $$$$) begins from the minute you make the first appointment. If you are so brazen as to have children in your old age – say 37 – you’re pushed to have genetic testing sequences, amnio, multiple ultra sound screenings, and on and on and on. Politely decline most if not all, and watch the wave of contempt (I actually had a nurse roll her eyes at me) coming at you from every member of the staff. Hear the confused silence of the insurance company when you call to say “don’t pay that, they didn’t perform those tests” because many practices will attempt to bill them as a “package” for mid life pregnancies whether the tests are done or not.

    Anyway, sorry for the mini-rant, but medicine itself is complicit in the obsession with “perfectly” healthy babies, with little regard for the deleterious effects much of the testing they do has on the baby (up to and including potential miscarriage), not to mention increasing the anxiety level of the mother. All presented as “so you can make the best decision for your family”. It’s more than a little creepy. I think a lot of it is dollar driven, but there’s an element to it that is trying to unravel the miracle – studied closely, the amazing part is that so many babies are born as we expect them to be.

    I find it interesting that our current culture is CRAVING the hand-crafted stamp on everything right now – the imprint of the person who made an object is dear to us, it makes it special, unique,not cookie cutter or predictable. Everything, that is, except people. We can’t accept physical differences or disabilities as anything but less than the preferred standard. There’s no consideration that these differences are valuable or complimentary to us, forget beautiful, intentional even, in the sight of God. For a world bent on worshiping diversity, we don’t leave room, ultimately, for much but the superficial differences.

  27. cottage child,

    “medicine itself is complicit in the obsession with “perfectly” healthy babies”

    Hugely valid point. Money-driven? I think so. Also, could it be that it’s just easier to talk of “making an informed choice” since we are inundated with overpopulation talk and since BC has so devalued life?

    “the imprint of the person who made an object is dear to us, it makes it special, unique,not cookie cutter or predictable. Everything, that is, except people.”

    I think this statement just graduated your comment to separate-post-status.

  28. When my husband and I were expecting our first child, he made the, “as long as it’s healthy” comment several times. It always bothered me, but I never said anything to him.

    A month before I was due, some friends gave birth unexpectedly to a Downs baby and my husband was thrown for a loop. He asked if there wasn’t some test to discover this before the baby came, and was confused when I told him that I had refused it. But I asked him what we would have done, had the test been positive, and he suddenly realized that he had a worldly mind-set about this. Of course abortion wasn’t an option! And why spend your time stressing over something that isn’t in your control?

    Since then, he has also repented of his “as long as it’s healthy” comments and is thankful for the blessings God has bestowed upon us.

    After my sister gave birth to a Downs baby, I watched my husband loving on that child almost as much as he loves on his own. And I have to think that the Lord blesses us with Downs babies because we all need to have our hearts tenderized from time to time.

  29. My little darling has done it again. She has awakened a lot of folks to think. What would you do if…I want to let folks know my grand-daughter in Lakewood, WA wants a baby so badly and has not been able to conceive. If you want to talk about unconditional love, search out a family with a Downs child. Healthy or unhealthy babies need tender loving care. I can do that. I work in a Crisis Pregnancy Center here in Marianna, FL. Give out lots of love to our girls and their babies. Praise the Lord for such a place. My mother needed someone to care. I am there because I am the oldest of that unwed mother.

  30. The comment about “it doesn’t matter if it is a boy or a girl as long as it is healthy” has always bothered me. I have a disabled son and I love him very much. Just because we may have him in the hospital at age five with a heart attack doesn’t mean he’s any less of a blessing than my two “normal” kids. In fact, our disabled one has an awesome personality that we just love.

  31. I think some misunderstand that statement greatly. “Healthy” is often thought to describe a baby who will live; there’s nothing wrong whatever with wanting a healthy baby, or even one without disabilities. Generally it’s a parent’s way of saying, “I don’t care about their gender, I just want my child to be okay.”

  32. I too like other commentors, am not in complete agreement with first couple lines of the post. I do think that as Christian parents we can rightfully ask the Lord for a healthy baby without feeling badly over these desires. I think it’s like asking the Lord for safety when we or someone we love travels. No one is hoping for an accident, so why pretend we are? If He brings disaster to the trip, then we take refuge in His sovereignty that He knows what we need most.
    While I understand the intent of the post, I think that the opening generalization was not very helpful in its articulation.
    I too like others here have a little girl with DS and I did pray for health for the little one that came right after her. He is a gracious God and now we have three healthy children, despite the DS.

    1. Heather,

      I fully understand your point and as I said earlier, completely agree that it’s OK and normal to pray for healthy children. The thing I’m not sure of, though, is whether we give enough credence to our words which can so heavily influence our thoughts. “As long as it’s healthy”, in my opinion, has had devastating effects on many a parents’ attitude toward babies and I wouldn’t hesitate to say the very phrase itself could be responsible for many abortions now performed on less than healthy babies.

      I guess I’m really picky about the language we use to convey thoughts because I believe it’s the very subtlety of it that can so strongly sway us in the wrong direction. (Same thing with birth control comments…people assure me that the comments people make are “harmless”, and I say they are not and greatly affect the way we think about children.)

      The phrase nicely introduced the prenatal testing which now allows parents to abort a child with any defect. Why do some doctors even encourage abortions of disabled children unless they, too, believe that it’s only a blessing “if it’s healthy”? I can’t get past the fact that it does matter how we speak/think about this. That doesn’t mean it’s “wrong” to pray for healthy children or that we should be hoping for disabled ones. I thought that would be clear and I apologize that is wasn’t.

      1. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my comments. I do understand your intent to set a guard at our lips to prevent ungodliness from taking hold.
        Abortions happen because people suppress the truth by their wickedness. (Romans 1)
        And you are right, I think, words and phrases do help people continue to suppress the truth. “Fetus”, “terminate”, “tissue” are all words that attempt to distract from the reality of a tiny life.
        I do not want to seem disagreeable so I accept your clarification and agree.
        Thanks for your thoughts on this issue.

  33. Seven weeks ago I gave birth to a baby girl with Down syndrome (Noelle Victoria, Noelle reminds us of Christ’s coming into this world and Victoria to the victory over death His coming brought (2 Cor. 15: 57: But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.), and I cannot say “amen” loudly enough! Your post echoed many of the thoughts of my heart in recent days. I was just talking to my mom this morning and expressing how having Noelle gave us an opportunity to minister to those Christ calls us to minister to every day. I have thought about how people deprive themselves of opportunities to grow and be blessed by limiting their families–stopping before they get “too old” (that’s usually code I think for “too likely to have a child with disabilities”)(and as if God hasn’t arranged for a stopping point?) and preserving their “perfect” families and missing out. I know already how much Noelle has helped me to go to God as my refuge in a way I never have before. I read the Psalms and I understand them with my heart. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for how she has brought me closer to our great God. And in terms of wishing for a healthy child, after we found out early on there was a fairly high possibility she had Ds I was convicted throughout the remainder of my pregnancy that, while I would pray for her health, even more I would pray for God’s will: knowing His ways were higher than mine, I wanted His ways more than mine. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  34. Thank you! I have two special needs children. My son has Down Syndrome, my daughter has Aspergers. And after much thought and consideration, we decided on more children, and are expecting our third child in March. We have been guilty numerous times of saying boy or girl as long as its healthy. But in reality we mean it. I dont mean I wouldnt love it any less if it werent healthy. I just mean, I hope the Lord gives me a break! And if he doesnt Oh well! I consider my two kids “healthy”. They just have a special need. So I guess it is all in how you mean it. I praise the Lord for my kids every day, and I KNOW, that WE are the lucky ones!

  35. I have a girl and a boy and both are healthy. I am almost 31 weeks along in my third pregnancy. Our first ultrasound showed that our baby (we now know is a girl who’s name is Mercy) was too small. We went to a specialist who saw a cleft lip and a club foot. This information alone was enough for the doctors to start to provide information about terminating the pregnancy.

    We refused of course, but had an amnio to get more information, so we could be better prepared. The tests revealed that Mercy has 4p- deletion syndrome, which means she is missing over 200 genes out of her 4th chromosome. When the doctor told us this news she pushed us to terminate the pregnancy stating that there would be no quality of life and that there would be no way to be sure that the baby would die after birth! As though we wanted the baby to die! She told us she would terminate if she were in our shoes and to think of our other children and what a finacial burden this will be. This is exactly what we went through, the doctors telling us we were going to help our baby by terminating the pregnancy. The doctors didn’t even give us any direction or help for another month because they were wanting us to terminate.

    We already know that so many people have been blessed by our baby who is not even here yet! I feel sorry for people who get news like this and only have doctors and nurses who tell them they are doing the right thing by aborting. I am so thankful that I have a great family and a great church to support us. I hope everyone can have a special baby in their lives to bless them!

  36. I completely understand the writers intentions on the phrase “as long as they’re healthy” after reading all of the comments. I agree that this sentiment, over a long period of time, has put a stigma out there about perfection, maybe. On the other hand I think it also depends on the context that it is used: a friend of mine gave birth to her still born daughter 2 days after her due date. A few months later she unnexpectadly found herself pregnant again. You bet her response to people asking if she wanted a boy or girl was “as long as they’re healthy”! The translation was much different from most people’s. For her it was a non invasive way of saying “I don’t care if it’s a boy or girl as long as I don’t have to go through the pain of giving birth to a dead baby again”. It all depends on what our definition of healthy is. For my friend “healthy” simply meant *alive*. I guess the translation of the “boy or girl” comment really depends on the context of the experiences of the person who is saying it. Possibly for some they would never translate it to mean wanting a *standard* baby, but rather they just want a living baby.

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