A US mother who was pregnant with twins, both of whom had Down’s syndrome, has shared how she chose to give birth despite being advised six times to have an abortion.
Rachael Prescott said that when her twins were diagnosed, she and her husband were inundated with people offering condolences and scaremongering about health conditions.
The twins also had a congenital heart condition and would need open heart surgery soon after birth, but Rachael said that doctors were more concerned that the children might have Down’s syndrome.
She said: “Information on navigating their cardiac situation was dwarfed by the push for genetic testing and possible means of abortion.
“I wanted to explain how far I was from desiring to end my pregnancy, but at that moment I could only sit in silence.”
Rachael and her husband refused the tests as they had decided not to have an abortion regardless of the result.
The twins were born in 2018 and were named Charlotte and Annette. Both were confirmed to have Down’s syndrome, but only Charlotte had a heart defect needing surgery.
Rachael said that far from despairing at the diagnosis, she and her husband celebrated the news.
“It was assumed that we were grieving but we quickly assured them of the lack of sadness or grief in our hearts concerning our beautiful, breathing, moving, hearts-beating, baby girls, and their extra chromosomes.”
After the girls were born, the couple read up all they could on Down’s syndrome, but were “saddened” to find nothing but negativity.
“Human rights for people with Down syndrome are primitive at best, and medical professionals connect social prejudices to Down syndrome so it presents as a negative occurrence to parents.”
But Rachael says that her girls are not unlike most other children, enjoying playing with their older brothers, learning to walk and having the “typical sister squabbles” over toys.
She added: “We hope in the future to direct expectant parents away from false preconceptions and towards what we have found to fill us with so much joy.
“The crazy love we have for our girls surpasses any emotional strain resulting from their medical needs.
“I would still undoubtedly choose my children just as they are.”