Diagnosis: Trisomy 21

By Yin-B's Mother

My husband and I made the heart breaking choice to terminate our pregnancy at 11 weeks, after our baby (nicknamed Yin-B) was diagnosed with Down's syndrome. It has been 6 months since the termination. Recently a growing sense of grief has overshadowed me. Yin-B would have been born around this time had she still been in my womb.

I have had depression before due to family problems and work stress. The last thing I wanted was to fall into depression again. My brain was working hard to defy my negative emotions: "I have a loving and understanding husband," "pregnancy is just one aspect of life," "I should focus on what I have, not what I have lost," "we can try again" etc. However, my tears kept rolling down my cheeks every day, and I chose to hide it from others. I didn't want them to tell me to look forward. I wanted to look forward too, but I didn't have the ability to do so at that moment.

I was 38. Yin-B was our first. I did the scan at 11 weeks and was advised by our doctor to do a CVS, since the scan results together with my age indicated a high risk of Down's syndrome. The result was positive. Over a few days, we met with our doctor, a social worker from the Down's Syndrome Association, our pastor, families with children who have Down's syndrome, we talked to friends and families, obtained information from books and the internet. We wanted to do our best to understand this diagnosis before making any decision. We did not want to make a decision out of ignorance or fear. From happily going to our doctor's clinic for a regular scan to the termination, it was less than a week's time.

After the termination and a certain grieving period, I was doing fine. Our doctors advised us to rest for 3 months before trying to conceive again. I was focusing on having good physical, mental and spiritual health in preparation for the next pregnancy. Until one day, I was severely judged by a troubled acquaintance who repeatedly asked me if I would repent for what I did, and what I would do if my next baby were to also have Down's Syndrome. I was a bit upset but answered her patiently out of love. As time passed, I found that I could not get her two questions out of my mind.*

Two friends who got pregnant around the same time as me have given birth. I have not been jealous all along, but I do feel sour now when other friends happily congratulate them...can't they be more sensitive about my feelings? Life moves on and they don't remember my loss. I do.

I am learning to face and cope with my grief, rather than burying it. I know I can do it. So can you.

*Administrator's note: We are often confronted by people who do not understand or agree with our choices. That is why making "A Heartbreaking Choice" is so difficult, as parents, we make the best decision that we can, for ourselves, our children and our families. Others will judge us, but it is not their place to do so. Please remember as you go through the grieving process that this choice is between you and your partner. How you choose to respond to the opinions of those who do not agree with your choice is up to you. The author of this story does so in a loving manner. Remember that you are not alone in your choice. May you each find love, peace and healing.


Books on Loss and Grief

Our Heartbreaking Choices: Forty-Six Women Share Their Stories of Interrupting a Much-Wanted Pregnancy

The Dive :: A Memoir

A Time to Decide a Time to Heal: For Parents Making Difficult Decisions About Babies They Love

Precious Lives Painful Choices: A Prenatal Decision-Making Guide

Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother

Empty Cradle, Broken Heart, Revised Edition: Surviving the Death of Your Baby

Empty Arms: Coping With Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death

A Silent Sorrow: Pregnancy Loss

Unspeakable Losses: Healing From Miscarriage, Abortion, And Other Pregnancy Loss

Surviving Pregnancy Loss: A Complete Sourcebook for Women and Their Families

Difficult Decisions: For Families Whose Unborn Baby Has a Serious Problem

Books for Fathers, Family, Children and Friends

Couple Communication After a Baby Dies: Differing Perspectives

For Better or Worse: For Couples Whose Child Has Died

How to Say it When You Don't Know What to Say: The Right Words For Difficult Times

A Guide For Fathers: When A Baby Dies

When Your Friend's Child Dies: A Guide to Being a Thoughtful and Caring Friend

When Pregnancy Fails: Families Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death

What You Can Say When You Don't Know What to Say: Reaching Out to Those Who Hurt

Books about Trying Again and Pregnancy after Loss

Journeys: Stories of Pregnancy After Loss

Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss

Pregnancy After a Loss: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death