Single mother-of-four Yami Johnson knew she did not want to abort her unborn son after he was diagnosed with Down syndrome and multiple other health problems.
But after repeated pressure from her doctors, she almost gave in. Almost.
The Metro reports the Brooklyn, New York mother recently shared about her experiences and the blessing of her son Noah’s life as part of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
“It’s really sad that I was almost convinced to abort because Noah lives a happy and healthy life,” Johnson said. “Having Down syndrome is not the end of the world and it’s not a curse or a punishment, it’s actually a blessing.”
Today, Noah is 2 years old and thriving. He also has become a social media star on Instagram where more than 80,000 people follow his journey, according to the report.
Back in 2017, however, Johnson’s doctors gave her a very different idea of what her son’s life could be like.
“I found out my baby has Down syndrome four months into the pregnancy. When doctors told me they made it sound like bad news, they made it seem like such a terrible thing,” she remembered.
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She said they claimed Noah would be “too much hard work” and scheduled an abortion consultation without telling her.
“That really did scare me and made me think about the diagnosis in a negative way,” she continued. “They offered me termination and reminded me I had that option every week until I passed the last date. They even scheduled an appointment to discuss a termination without my consent. I felt like the life of my child was not supported and I felt pressurized to terminate.”
Because of her doctors’ constant pressure to consider an abortion, Johnson said she almost did. Now, she is thankful that she chose life for her son.
Noah was born on Jan. 27, 2018. He suffered from multiple heart, lung and kidney problems and underwent two open heart surgeries, according to the report. But today, Johnson said her son is doing better than expected and his doctors believe he will live a normal life.
“He is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” she said.
By sharing her family’s story on Instagram and other venues, Johnson said she hopes to encourage others to see the value of children with Down syndrome.
On Instagram, “I just post photos of our everyday life, most of it is just cute and funny photos of Noah but I also use it to educate our followers about the condition,” she said. “I wish I had found a page like Noah’s when I was researching about Down syndrome when I was pregnant.”
Johnson said her life is better because of Noah, and she wants others to see that, too.
“It’s been a good thing for me, having Noah has given me a new perspective on life. He’s taught me to slow down and enjoy the little things in life,” she said.
Down syndrome discrimination is a problem across the world, and it begins before birth. Several years ago, a CBS News report shocked the nation with its exposure of the discriminatory trend. According to the report, nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland. The rate in France was 77 percent in 2015, 90 percent in the UK and 67 percent in the United States.
One mom recently told the BBC that she was pressured to abort her unborn daughter 15 times, including right up to the time of her baby’s birth.
A recent study highlighted in Scientific American found evidence that families of children with Down syndrome often face negative, biased counseling and pressure to have abortions.