Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Unexpected Good Read

I just got through reading an excellent book called "Expecting Adam" by Martha Beck. This is not a new book, it was published about ten years ago. It is a memoir about Martha's pregnancy with a Down Syndrome child. Martha and her husband were both graduate students at Harvard University at the time (1988) and they had an 18 month old daughter when Martha found out that she was expecting again and that she was carrying a "Down Syndrome fetus." She was 25 years old. What would you do?

The prevailing thought on the Harvard campus at the time was that such a fetus should be aborted. Martha decided not to do this. Her pregnancy journey was quite a spiritually compelling one. I have heard that sometimes women are open to such experiences during a pregnancy, but had never heard or read about a long duration of such an "experience." It seemed, in reading the book, that not only was this pregnancy blessed, but that the fetus, Adam, had picked these two people to be his parents.

Coincidentally, Martha was studying social sciences and women's studies at the time. During her pregnancy with Adam she was in a class where the debate was about advances in obstetrical technology. One student brazenly informed the class that women had a social obligation to terminate any pregnancy in which the fetus was deformed.

When Martha's son, Adam was a child she watched him help an emotionally traumatized young girl go on a carnival ride. She thought about those student's words from years before and of a couple of notorious Harvard geniuses including the unabomber and a South American dictator who maimed and killed people. If Adam was on one side of the debate and these Harvard geniuses are on the other, what kind of world are people who think that the pregnancy of any child who might not be "perfect" hoping for?

No comments: