By: K. Walker
ClashDaily Associate Editor
This is unbelievably heartbreaking — but probably not the way she intended it to be. Check out her story…
Despite the decades she has spent caring for her son, this British woman isn’t going to be a candidate for ‘Mom of the Year’, that’s for sure.
Gillian Relf, 69, has two sons. One of them is a 47-year old named Stephen who was born with Down Syndrome. She says that although she loves him and hs cared for him for all these years, she would have aborted him if she had been given the chance.
But she says that you shouldn’t judge her until you read the article that she wrote in the Daily Mail.
Relf’s article isn’t heartbreaking because of what she and her family have gone through — though none of it could have been easy — it’s that she seems to genuinely regret not having had the opportunity to abort her son.
She opens her article with an anecdote about how she and her husband were embarrassed because her son’s actions on a plane caused them to hold up the flight for an hour and then get removed from their seats. It meant that they could not go on their vacation to Greece two years ago.
And it’s just been so very hard to put someone else’s needs above your own like many parents do all the time.
So difficult has it been that I can honestly say I wish he hadn’t been born.
I know this will shock many: this is my son, whom I’ve loved, nurtured and defended for nearly half a century, but if I could go back in time, I would abort him in an instant.
Here is Relf giving her reasons:
Perhaps you’d expect me to say that, over time, I grew to accept my son’s disability. That now, looking back on that day 47 years later, none of us could imagine life without him, and that I’m grateful I was never given the option to abort.
However, you’d be wrong. Because, while I do love my son, and am fiercely protective of him, I know our lives would have been happier and far less complicated if he had never been born. I do wish I’d had an abortion. I wish it every day.
If he had not been born, I’d have probably gone on to have another baby, we would have had a normal family life and Andrew would have the comfort, rather than the responsibility, of a sibling, after we’re gone.
I’m not saying that dealing with Down’s Syndrome is easy, or that we shouldn’t have compassion for the nearly five decades that Relf has spent caring for a son that has not been able to fully integrate into society because of his extensive disabilities.
Unless we’re in her position, we can’t imagine the day-to-day worries about Stephen’s well-being, concern about how he will act when he’s out, what happens to him when his parents die, and the toll that that takes on an individual.
Relf writes about a time when her husband was working night shifts, Stephen was only 3 years old and cried for three days straight because he was ill. He was unable to communicate what was wrong, and she nearly threw him down the stairs in frustration and exhaustion — but she stopped herself.
She found out much later what was wrong.
One day, Stephen’s doctor sat us down and told us that Stephen needed an operation to remove his spleen. Without it, he said, he would ‘go to sleep and never wake up’. Those were his exact words.
Looking back, I believe the doctor was guiding us towards allowing our son to pass away naturally, but we were not much more than children ourselves, in our mid-20s, and didn’t understand then what he was trying to do for us.
I wish we had – it would have spared us all a great deal of pain. Instead he had the operation and spent five weeks at Great Ormond Street Hospital recovering, with me at his bedside as often as possible.
It doesn’t say much about the National Health System (NHS) in the U.K. if the doctor made the suggestion (as Relf implied) that there was a way to just let a child die.
(But remember, kiddos, there’s no such thing as a ‘death panel’.)
In the article, Relf also admits that she isn’t the primary caregiver of Stephen and hasn’t been for a long time. He’s been cared for in specialized institutions and homes for people with disabilities since he was 13 and only comes home for visits.
Again, there shouldn’t be judgment passed on Relf on that front — that’s a choice that is made by the family in consultation with medical professionals.
As someone who has worked caring for people with Down Syndrome, I know how vital it is to have a good network of support which would include a break from caregiving at times to avoid burnout.
Frankly, if you read Relf’s article, Stephen living away from home may have actually saved his life.
Caring for someone with Down Syndrome can be a lot of things.
It is frustrating.
It is hard.
It is heartbreaking.
It is heroic.
But to advocate that death is the answer is unconscionable.
And that’s exactly what she’s doing.
The issue that I have with the article, and why I’m so snarky with Gelf, is that she’s not just regretting her decision, she wants other women to make the choice she was unable to make.
And she’s making a morally repugnant case for aborting Down Syndrome children for the sake of convenience.
And so I appeal to every mother-to-be out there, facing the knowledge that they may bring a child like Stephen into this world. Read my story and do what is right for you and your family.
Source: Daily Mail
Relf is advocating for the genocide of babies with Down Syndrome.
She is saying that she would erase her son from existence if she could.
How is that different from wishing he were dead now?
How is it different from wanting to throw him down the stairs when he was 3 and crying incessantly?
Does this lengthy article make her somehow heroic for admitting that she thinks her son’s life isn’t one that’s worth living?
The test for Down Syndrome is 85% accurate — which sounds like a lot until you think about 15 of every 100 babies would have a false positive.
And why stop at Down Syndrome?
Couldn’t her argument be used to discuss the elderly and others with difficult, lifelong medical conditions?
Do we just bump them off, too?
What if she were suffering from say, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, or a form of terminal brain cancer, and her other son, Andrew, decided he’d had enough. Would it be ok if he wrote an article stating that he wished his mother had died before the difficult diagnosis?
At the end of the day — life is life, and it should be protected.
The left often says, ‘We need to take a stand for the most vulnerable.’ By that, they mean illegal aliens or whatever victim group is the flavor of the day.
If they meant it though, wouldn’t the ‘most vulnerable’ be the innocents in the womb? They literally have no voice.
Even more so those with a genetic condition?
You’d think so.
It’s basic morality — we are all made in the image of God and all human life has value. Protecting life is not about convenience or what we determine as a ‘life worth living’. It’s not about whether or not Stephen will be able to get a job, get married, or have children. It’s about that inherent value of human life that was bestowed on us by our Creator — that ‘spark of divinity,’ if you will.
It’s heartbreaking that Gelf sees his life as less valuable just because it doesn’t fit into the normal mold.
What about the wonderful stories of those that have Down Syndrome that have made an impact?
Here are some inspirational people that may not have been around if their mothers listened to someone like Gillian Relf:
Tim Harris — American Motivational Speaker, Restaurant owner, disability advocate.
Pablo Pineda — First Down Syndrome graduate with a degree in Educational Psychology, from Spain, has become a writer, speaker, teacher, TV host, and an actor.
Angela Bachiller — First elected Down Syndrome Councilwoman in Spain.
Madeline Stuart — Australian model that made it to the catwalk in New York for Fashion Week in 2015 and is now launching her own line of clothing.
Noelia Garella — Argentinian woman that was rejected from preschool for being a ‘monster’ is now a well-loved preschool teacher.
Megan McCormick — American woman that was the first Down Syndrome student to graduate from a technical college with an honors associate’s degree in education.
Bernadette Resha — This Nashville native is an artist, speaker, and violinist.
Melissa Reilly — American Special Olympian with gold medals in skiing, cycling, and swimming. She is also an inspirational speaker, and has interned with a Massachusetts State Senator.
And finally, another American, Sujeet Desai. A talented musician that graduated high school with a 4.3 GPA and continued on to graduate from college in music. He plays seven instruments including the violin, piano, trumpet, and saxophone. He has won several international awards for his music, and has also played at Carnegie Hall.
Watch Sujeet’s mom, Dr. Sindoor Desai, talk about creating an online support system for parents with Down Syndrome:
Thank God that there are moms out there like Dr. Sindoor Desai and not just ones like Gillian Relf.
ClashDaily.com’s, Editor-In-Chief, Doug Giles how-to book:
In ‘Raising Righteous and Rowdy Girls’, Doug Giles reinforces the notion that little women don’t need to be pampered by their fathers to turn out right. And having met his beautiful daughters, I know his philosophy works. As a strong-willed woman who thinks her daddy is the greatest guy in the world, I can tell you this is a must-read for every man who hopes to earn the same title. —-S.E. Cupp Best Selling Author & Fox News Analyst
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