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The Archers and Downs Syndrome.

(29 Posts)
Greatnan Sun 16-Sep-12 11:14:33

This subject is being handled very well, I think. Vicky is an older first time mum and is expecting a Down's Syndrome baby. Mike, her older husband, is dead set against her having the baby.
It seems that women generally accept babies who are considered to be less than perfect by society but men find it more difficult.
The programme is putting forward all the positive points whilst giving the husband to chance to express his doubts. They mainly centre on his age - he doesn't want to have to cope with a teenager when he is a pensioner - he is already a grandfather.
Vicky is adamant that she is going ahead with the pregnancy and today Mike has finally come round to supporting her. Hooray!

JO4 Sun 16-Sep-12 11:16:30

It's just the poll that was bad. Trvialised something big.

Greatnan Sun 16-Sep-12 11:17:43

Poll? I missed that. (Are you back in communication with me, Jingle? grin)

JO4 Sun 16-Sep-12 11:19:41

You know, I was thirtynine when I had my last child and I refused amnio thinking I would have the child, Downs or not.

I can't be quite so sure about it now though. Later life (which comes early for them) can be so hard on Downs Syndrome sufferers. sad

JO4 Sun 16-Sep-12 11:21:35

Yes. grin

They have an online poll once a week, and the question last week was, should Vicky have the baby or not?

Outrage ensued. Quite rightly. They took it down in the end.

JO4 Sun 16-Sep-12 11:23:07

about it here

harrigran Sun 16-Sep-12 11:33:02

I can confirm this is true jingl I have experience of Downns Syndrome and I am not sure I would be able to cope even with my medical background.

Nelliemoser Sun 16-Sep-12 14:31:06

Friday's episode had me in tears and it takes a bit to do that! Mike has always been something of a grumpy old S** but good at heart.

Greatnan Sun 16-Sep-12 16:33:05

I hope and believe I could cope, as so many parents do. On the other hand, I would never criticise anyone who had an abortion if they really felt it was right for them.

JO4 Sun 16-Sep-12 16:34:42

I was thinking of the sufferer Greatnan! Maybe it's not fair to allow it to happen.

Greatnan Sun 16-Sep-12 16:43:54

Jingle - have you ever known anyone with Downs? They are the happiest group of people in the world. Many marry and go out to work. There are a couple of talented actors who have Downs. I don't think they would call themselves 'sufferers'. In some countries, every Downs child is literate - it just takes the political will and the resources, and a positive attitude towards the condition (it is not an illness, although some children with Downs will have other health problems).

Movedalot Sun 16-Sep-12 16:50:15

I agree with Greatnan I know some downs people and they are certainly not suffering. They are happy and fulfilled.

MiceElf Sun 16-Sep-12 16:54:12

Well said Great nan. Every person has a value.

Mamie Sun 16-Sep-12 18:03:28

No, sorry Greatnan, it is not true that in some countries every Down's child is literate. Down's syndrome covers a wide range of abilities, some people are non-verbal, and some are non-literate. They are not by definition the happiest group of people either; they can include a wide range of emotional states. I have worked a lot with Down's children in the UK and it is no different to another special need; it is a complex and varied condition. My elderly neighbour here has a Down's son of 40, she has reluctantly had to let him go into residential care because coping with his physical needs and his emotional frustrations at the age of 84 is too much for her.

Greatnan Sun 16-Sep-12 18:07:31

Mamie - it is many years since I read the report about literacy but I think it applied to the old Yugoslavia. I don't think I implied that every single Downs child was happy - just that as a group they are capable of having a fulfilled life. I do know that there are wide variations in the levels of disability, but I would hate all children with the condition to be written off.

JO4 Sun 16-Sep-12 18:07:52

Yes Greatnan. I do know and have known people with Downs, and I know there are actors who have this syndrome.

Trouble is, you can't tell the degree to which a child will have it. There's the problem. I would hate to think of a child of mine having severe health problems towards the end of their (probably short) life.

That's all.

Greatnan Sun 16-Sep-12 18:09:31

There are many conditions which can shorten life and give rise to cognitive and physical problems. Should Downs children not be given the same chances as other children who are not 'perfect'?

nightowl Sun 16-Sep-12 18:11:02

My niece had Downs syndrome and due to medical prejudice she was not given essential medical treatment as a child with the result that she developed heart failure and died in her twenties. Adults with Downs syndrome still experience medical problems and do not generally have a full life expectancy or a healthy old age. It is not only the question of how parents will cope with a child with Downs syndrome but how they, and the rest of the family will cope for the whole of the person's life.

When I was pregnant with my last child at the age of 37 (not a hugely increased risk) I decided to have an amnio because I had seen all these issues affecting those very close to me. I was not absolutely sure I would have a termination if the baby was affected but I felt I needed to know. My niece was very much loved and deeply mourned, but her life was full of suffering and her family suffered with her.

nightowl Sun 16-Sep-12 18:13:11

Just to clarify - I am not advocating routine termination, just presenting a personal perspective.

Greatnan Sun 16-Sep-12 18:14:59

As I said, I would not criticise any woman who decided to have an abortion.

nanaej Sun 16-Sep-12 18:36:20

I agree with mamie children with DS are as varied as any other kids! The last school I was at had several children with DS over the time I was there. Some children had a very successful time but others, whose needs were significant, would IMO have fared better in a special school. Some parents coped very well and accepted their child's limitations and celebrated and supported what they could do. Others spent their time trying to make their child be 'normal' sending them to all kinds of therapies/ classes/ clubs etc that were not always appropriate in all sorts of ways but also wanting special treatment for them. It is often, understandably, very hard for parents of children with significant special needs to come to terms with the disabilities and limitations of their condition. Others find it easier to accept the situation and I have to say those were the happier children and parents.

I have no idea what kind of parent I would have been in that situation and I am not making a judgement just saying what I observed.

Mamie Sun 16-Sep-12 18:44:39

Of course nobody would say that people with Down's, cerebral palsy, autism and any other kind of special need are not capable of having a fulfilled life and of course they should be treated with respect and not pigeon-holed or labelled. Nor can anyone deny that it can be a long, hard road for them and for their families. My neighbour in her eighties was coping with a man of 40 who needed help with toileting and showering, needed to be cajoled to get up, get dressed and prevented from eating to excess.
Scanning was not routine when I had my children, but I am sure that I would have chosen to have a termination.

Greatnan Sun 16-Sep-12 18:55:10

Mamie - I don't disagree with anything you say.

merlotgran Sun 16-Sep-12 19:15:37

Neither do I, Greatnan. When I was pregnant with my first child I was going through the usual first mother anxieties and asked DH what would happen if the baby were disabled. DH replied that we would make the best of it. Brave words but I knew that all the responsibility and hard work would fall on my shoulders as, lovely though he is, he fell into the old fashioned category of husband. New man was still a long way off. Thankfully all our three children were born fit and well but I'm sure if I had known of a sure disability I would have had a termination.

baublesbanglesandb Sun 16-Sep-12 19:34:24

Interesting discussion. An uncle of mine has Downs, he is 68 years old and has been in residential care for a number of years. He has lived a happy life. Sadly, he now suffers from Altzeimers disease and no longer always recognises his loved and loving family. Our lives have been enhanced by his life.