You know those ultrasound pictures proud parents-to-be post on Facebook? I have never been able to make sense of them. Not the why but the what—I can probably tell you more about what I can see in an inkblot test than an ultrasound photo!
As Christians, we trust that every gift from God—the baby especially—will be good. What does deciding to take the test say about our faith and our view of disabilities? And what if the baby were disabled?
And that was my exact experience at our own ultrasound. I spent the entire time squinting and tilting my head, wondering how the obstetrician decided this one particular white dot was a life form.
I was expecting much of the same when I saw the obstetrician again a month later, but instead, our little white dot had grown tiny arms and legs, and what looked like a ginormous head! My husband obviously saw the same thing—his eyes had welled up and he started sniffling in a matter of seconds.
We didn’t have long to bask in the wonder, however, as the obstetrician then started talking to us about the nuchal translucency test to determine the baby’s risk of Down syndrome and other birth defects. It wasn’t compulsory, but it turned out to be one of the more difficult decisions we have had to make.
As Christians, we trust that every gift from God—the baby especially—will be good. What does deciding to take the test say about our faith and our view of disabilities? And what if the baby were disabled? While I deeply admire the strength and courage of parents with disabled children, I am less confident of my own fortitude and fear my inability to withstand the temptation to abort. And if I did, would I be able to live with that decision?
But if the baby were disabled, wouldn’t it be better to know now, to prepare for the challenges ahead?
We ended up taking the test, earnestly praying we didn’t need to consider all the difficult decisions the results may bring, but hoping an early diagnosis would at least give us time to formulate a plan of action. Thankfully, our baby’s risks for disabilities were low.
Melody Tan is associate editor of Signs of the Times and is expecting her first child.