All too often, parents are pressured by doctors to undergo genetic screening, and even to abort their babies if it is thought they have a disability. Now a video where an actress hilariously relates how she resisted this pressure is going viral.
When actress Lynn Fergusson (most famous for voicing Mac in Chicken Run) became pregnant with her first child at the age of 37, she was surprised to find that her pregnancy was labeled “geriatric.” However, she was even more surprised by the relentless pressure doctors put on her first to undergo an amniocentesis, and then to abort her baby.
Her talk published by storytelling website The Moth, is related with humor, and is a beautiful example of a mother determined to do the best for her son.
The pressure begins
From the beginning, Fergusson was determined not to have the amniocentesis, which carries a 1% risk of miscarriage. “It’s not technically the baby’s fault that I’m old, you know,” she said. “So I’m not gonna take a risk. Not unless there’s a good reason.”
When the doctors continued to exert pressure, she tried to deflect them with jokes.
“Look, can your test tell me that this kid will not be a jerk? Can your test reassure me that this baby is not going to be one of those horrible screaming ones that annoys the hell out of everybody in restaurants and airplanes? Can your test assure me that this tiny, growing human baby will not mature into a fully grown adult with some horrific affinity for Peruvian panflute music?”
And goes on…
But the doctors continued to push, first because they suspected Down syndrome, and then, terrifyingly, Edwards’ syndrome, a condition where most babies die in the womb, or shortly after birth. Her response was amazing:
“You know, we had so many scans,” said Ferguson. “I had seen my son. I’d seen his heart. I’d seen the inside of his eyes. I’d seen his hands and his feet and, in fact, during one of the scans, he’d held his hand up to the front of my body as if to say, ‘Will you go away? I’m busy. Leave me alone. I’m growing.’ I had felt my son move inside my body. What did it matter if he had a disorder or not? You know what, if he was gonna die, we are all gonna die sometime, right? We should meet first. He was my son and he needed me. He depended on me to make the right decision. So I said, ‘No.'”
The last straw came when the doctors offered the parents an abortion at 25 weeks. It became “obvious that they wanted a war, but I just wanted to see my baby.”
So they changed hospitals, where, 10 weeks later, Ferguson went into labor.
Her son was completely healthy. She named him Fergus, which in Irish means, “The right choice,” and in Scottish means “courage.”
Do listen to her story and hear this heartwarming and life-affirming story for yourself.