Mother of Baby With Down Syndrome Regrets Wishing She’d Aborted Her Son

Opinion   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 8, 2017   |   1:41PM   |   Washington, DC

It took a lot of courage for London mom Claire Farrington to admit publicly that she was wrong.

Farrington once wished she could have aborted her son Theo because he has Down syndrome. Now, she said she is so “ashamed” of those thoughts, and so glad that Theo is part of her life, according to the Daily Mail.

It would have been more comfortable and easy for Farrington to keep her struggles to herself. Instead, she chose to share them publicly to help other mothers to see the value of children with disabilities.

“I look back at the woman I was in the hospital and I feel pretty sorry for her,” she said. “’I want to tell all the mums who might have a similar journey to me that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s still hard. I am still coming to terms with how much our lives have altered, but I wouldn’t change Theo for the world now,” she continued.

Farrington said she became pregnant by her partner, Andrew Papadimitriou, in July 2015. They did not know that anything was wrong with Theo until 29 weeks later, according to the report. During a routine scan, doctors told the couple that Theo was not growing or getting enough oxygen, and he needed to be born soon.

It was then that Farrington found out that Theo had Down syndrome, the report states. Immediately, she wished that she could have aborted him or that he would not have survived, she remembered. She said she was so upset that she punched a wall.

“I had all these preconceptions about Down’s syndrome and just didn’t want this to have happened to me and Andrew,” she said. “I am ashamed to say, at the time, I wished we’d had a termination. I could have discarded Theo, without getting to know him, which would have been such a mistake.”

The doctors delivered Theo in an emergency cesarean section three days later, according to the report. He weighed a little more than 2 pounds.

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What made it even more difficult was that Farrington was not able to hold Theo right away. He spent several weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit, hooked up to machines to keep him alive.

“He looked like a vulnerable animal,” she said. “I was just desperate to spend time with my boy.”

Gradually, the new mom said she began to research her son’s condition and come to terms with it. Things got better when they were able to take Theo home and begin a normal family life, she said.

“It was then that I felt a sense of peace with everything that had happened,” Farrington said. “Theo may have Down’s syndrome, but he’s an adorable, happy little lad.”

Misconceptions about Down syndrome and other disabilities often lead families to consider abortion. Many couples also report medical professionals gave them overwhelmingly negative information about their child’s diagnosis and some even pressured them to have an abortion.

But Farrington and other families are counteracting this discrimination by sharing their stories and encouraging other couples to see the value of their children, no matter what their abilities.

Farrington said of Theo, “His life isn’t worth any less than a typical child’s, he’s perfect.”