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Cynthia Wachenheim and the Impossible Terrain of Motherhood - The Feminist Wire

Cynthia Wachenheim and the Impossible Terrain of Motherhood

By Alison Piepmeier

As Keira Williams wrote here recently, Cynthia Wachenheim killed herself—and attempted to kill her son—because she felt that she’d been a terrible mother.  Williams aptly observes the way in which our culture creates and upholds unrealistic standards of motherhood, the “mommy myth” of the Good Mother.  These sorts of cultural narratives create anxiety and shame among mothers and can provide a context for acts that, as Williams says, are incomprehensible:  “We do not know how to make sense of the supposedly loving mother who kills her own child.”

The thing that struck me most about this story was one of the reasons for the suicide and attempted murder Wachenheim offered in her thirteen-page letter:  she felt horribly guilty that she’d “allowed” her ten month old child to experience two small falls.  More to the point, she was concerned that because of those falls, the child was experiencing a “serious medical condition,” perhaps cerebral palsy or autism, that would have “lifelong consequences.”

In part, her attempt to end her child’s life was triggered by a fear that her child might have a physical or cognitive disability.

I’m a feminist disability studies scholar at work right now on the cultural narratives surrounding prenatal testing, Down syndrome, and reproductive decision-making.  Wachenheim’s story reminds me of my interviews with women who have terminated their pregnancies because the fetus was identified as having Down syndrome.  Many of the themes are the same:  they want to be “good mothers” who save their child from suffering.  As Rayna Rapp explains in her outstanding book Testing Women, Testing the Fetus,

Ending a pregnancy to which one is already committed because of a particular diagnosed disability forces each woman to act as a moral philosopher of the limits, adjudicating the standards guarding entry into the human community for which she serves as the normalizing gatekeeper. She must make conscious the fears, fantasies, and phobias she holds about mothering a disabled child. And she frequently thinks in a vacuum, lacking much social context for what a particular medical diagnosis of a disability might really imply.

Being a “good mom” is incredibly significant to the women I interviewed—more important, for instance, than simply being a “good person.”  The difference is, of course, gendered:  in our culture, mothers are scrutinized and judged much more harshly and pervasively than fathers.  Being a “good mother” becomes a kind of marker of human validity for women, and this need to be a “good mother” was particularly strong in the women I interviewed because of the particular decision they have made.  They were women who wanted to be pregnant and who had already made a connection of some sort with their child (their terminology), such as planning prenatal care or outfitting a nursery.  In fact, they loved their child.  And then they terminated the pregnancy.  As a woman I’ll call Emily said, “Before this, like I would never kill a fly, you know. And yet, I killed the thing I want the most in life. And so, that just—it’s kind of like a mind fuck.”0415916445

Many in our dominant culture understand disability to be a fate worse than death—and, indeed, this belief is reinforced and perpetuated by a variety of societal structures, from how public school classrooms are divided to how sidewalks and bathrooms are designed.  Although I don’t deny that Wachenheim may well have been experiencing postpartum depression or psychosis, I also recognize that the thing she was afraid of is something that many loving mothers are afraid of.  They’re afraid not because they want a “perfect” child but because they understand disability only to mean a life defined by suffering.

One woman told me, “We truly chose to give her [their child] peace rather than to let her ever face abuse, neglect or any kind of pain or suffering. She never knew anything but love and peace.”  Terminating the pregnancy was the only option she saw that would guarantee that her child would not suffer. Another said, “It was something that I just—I don’t think I was wanting to have to see my child suffer.”

51+JQgR77qL._SL500_AA300_Feminist disability studies scholar Alison Kafer notes the extent to which we “stigmatize disabled people by presenting disability exclusively in terms of suffering and hardship.”  She goes on to explain that these attitudes “seem to imply that the only appropriate response to disability is elimination.”  What Kafer is explaining is one way that our social construction of disability operates.  When disability is only seen to be a condition of suffering, then life with a disability is a tragedy.  Then it is, indeed, the act of a loving parent to eliminate that suffering—and therefore that life.

Disability studies scholars Adrienne Asch and David Wasserman refer to this phenomenon as “synechdoche”—the part standing in for the whole.  The disability, or one stereotype associated with the disability, can come to seem the only thing that matters about an individual.  They write, “Except in those extremely rare cases where a child’s suffering is expected to be so intense, pervasive, and protracted that it can be said to make his very existence harmful to him overall, the failure or refusal to see the child’s suffering in the context of his worthwhile existence appears to epitomize synechdoche.”  Synechdoche is a way of stereotyping. It’s an incredibly limited way of thinking.

Indeed, the equation of suffering with disability isn’t merely limited—it’s often patently false.  People with disabilities, physical as well as intellectual, live a wide variety of happy lives, lives defined by all the weird assortment of things that define the lives of “typical” people.  For instance, my child has Down syndrome, and “suffering” is not a word I’d use to describe any aspect of her life (except, perhaps, when she had an ear infection and had to swallow wretched medicine—both of us suffered through that).

All reports indicate that Wachenheim loved her son.  She called him “beautiful” in her letter.  Williams refers to Wachenheim’s behavior as an act of “altruistic infanticide,” in which “mothers kill their children because they genuinely believe they will be better off dead. It is, in the minds of the perpetrators, the ultimate maternal sacrifice.”  Let me be clear that I am not equating abortion with infanticide.  The women who had abortions were making a reproductive decision that I support and, indeed, have fought to protect.

undividedrightsAnd yet the women I interviewed were often profoundly sad about the decision they made, crying while they talked to me, articulating a wish that they could have had better options.  What I’m arguing is that we must broaden our understanding of our reproductive lives so that we can see the ways in which our culture’s symbolic and institutional structures work to make certain things possible, and to shut down other possibilities.  As reproductive justice scholars argue, we must attend to “a much wider set of concerns. Access to resources and services, economic rights, freedom from violence, and safe and healthy communities are all integral to [this] expanded vision.”

Within our societal structures, certain bodies and minds become “normal”—and therefore acceptable—while others are “defective,” “crippled,” “retarded,” “broken.”  And because women are central to reproduction, they are responsible for, in Rapp’s words, “adjudicating the standards guarding entry into the human community.”  They did not create those standards, but they must decide how to navigate within and against them.  Wachenheim’s story offers us one tragic model of how impossible this can be.

_______________________________________________

-1Alison Piepmeier is the author of several books, including Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism, and the forthcoming A Choice With No Story:  What Prenatal Testing and Down Syndrome Tell Us About Our Reproductive Decision-Making.  She directs the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the College of Charleston where she is associate professor.  She blogs at alisonpiepmeier.blogspot.com.

32 Comments

  1. Heather Talley

    April 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Alison, Thanks for this incredible reflection on how narratives about disability collide with the terrain of reproductive politics to make for wrenching choices. Seeing this story empathetically and through the lens you provide helps us to really see what Wachenheim has to tell us.

  2. Heather Talley

    April 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Alison, Thanks for this incredible reflection on how narratives about disability collide with the terrain of reproductive politics to make for wrenching choices. Seeing this story empathetically and through the lens you provide helps us to really see what Wachenheim has to tell us.

  3. Heather Talley

    April 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Alison, Thanks for this incredible reflection on how narratives about disability collide with the terrain of reproductive politics to make for wrenching choices. Seeing this story empathetically and through the lens you provide helps us to really see what Wachenheim has to tell us.

  4. Heather Talley

    April 4, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Alison, Thanks for this incredible reflection on how narratives about disability collide with the terrain of reproductive politics to make for wrenching choices. Seeing this story empathetically and through the lens you provide helps us to really see what Wachenheim has to tell us.

  5. Krissy

    April 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    This case really surprised me because the mother was so educated and was a state court prosecutor. Its horrifying that a mother would be so afraid of autism or another perceived disability that they would do this. Most of the articles I see about autism are about beleaguered mothers complaining about their hardship. I wish people with disabilities were treated with more respect and it has to start at home. No kid should grow up feeling unworthy of their parents love.

  6. Krissy

    April 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    This case really surprised me because the mother was so educated and was a state court prosecutor. Its horrifying that a mother would be so afraid of autism or another perceived disability that they would do this. Most of the articles I see about autism are about beleaguered mothers complaining about their hardship. I wish people with disabilities were treated with more respect and it has to start at home. No kid should grow up feeling unworthy of their parents love.

  7. Krissy

    April 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    This case really surprised me because the mother was so educated and was a state court prosecutor. Its horrifying that a mother would be so afraid of autism or another perceived disability that they would do this. Most of the articles I see about autism are about beleaguered mothers complaining about their hardship. I wish people with disabilities were treated with more respect and it has to start at home. No kid should grow up feeling unworthy of their parents love.

  8. Krissy

    April 4, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    This case really surprised me because the mother was so educated and was a state court prosecutor. Its horrifying that a mother would be so afraid of autism or another perceived disability that they would do this. Most of the articles I see about autism are about beleaguered mothers complaining about their hardship. I wish people with disabilities were treated with more respect and it has to start at home. No kid should grow up feeling unworthy of their parents love.

  9. Jisun

    April 5, 2013 at 12:16 am

    I have a four month old baby who wasn’t diagnosed with Down syndrome until well after he was two months old. I wish there were more like you, able to articulate the fallacy of labeling ourselves “disabled” or “typical”, and the limited societal views that lead us further and further away from accepting true human diversity.

    I still struggle with those who have questioned our family’s decision not to have done prenatal testing, as if a better mother would have chosen the most “perfect” feuds possible. I had a childless girlfriend tell me that seeing our baby be diagnosed with Ds has convinced her that she won’t try to have children after all, because of her advanced age. And yet, I am the one who feels for them, as they struggle to fit themselves into the standards if motherhood about which you write. Thank you for your writing.

    • Jisun

      April 5, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Not feuds. Fetus. As if a better mother would have chosen the most “perfect” fetus possible.

  10. Jisun

    April 5, 2013 at 12:16 am

    I have a four month old baby who wasn’t diagnosed with Down syndrome until well after he was two months old. I wish there were more like you, able to articulate the fallacy of labeling ourselves “disabled” or “typical”, and the limited societal views that lead us further and further away from accepting true human diversity.

    I still struggle with those who have questioned our family’s decision not to have done prenatal testing, as if a better mother would have chosen the most “perfect” feuds possible. I had a childless girlfriend tell me that seeing our baby be diagnosed with Ds has convinced her that she won’t try to have children after all, because of her advanced age. And yet, I am the one who feels for them, as they struggle to fit themselves into the standards if motherhood about which you write. Thank you for your writing.

    • Jisun

      April 5, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Not feuds. Fetus. As if a better mother would have chosen the most “perfect” fetus possible.

  11. Jisun

    April 5, 2013 at 12:16 am

    I have a four month old baby who wasn’t diagnosed with Down syndrome until well after he was two months old. I wish there were more like you, able to articulate the fallacy of labeling ourselves “disabled” or “typical”, and the limited societal views that lead us further and further away from accepting true human diversity.

    I still struggle with those who have questioned our family’s decision not to have done prenatal testing, as if a better mother would have chosen the most “perfect” feuds possible. I had a childless girlfriend tell me that seeing our baby be diagnosed with Ds has convinced her that she won’t try to have children after all, because of her advanced age. And yet, I am the one who feels for them, as they struggle to fit themselves into the standards if motherhood about which you write. Thank you for your writing.

    • Jisun

      April 5, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Not feuds. Fetus. As if a better mother would have chosen the most “perfect” fetus possible.

  12. Jisun

    April 5, 2013 at 12:16 am

    I have a four month old baby who wasn’t diagnosed with Down syndrome until well after he was two months old. I wish there were more like you, able to articulate the fallacy of labeling ourselves “disabled” or “typical”, and the limited societal views that lead us further and further away from accepting true human diversity.

    I still struggle with those who have questioned our family’s decision not to have done prenatal testing, as if a better mother would have chosen the most “perfect” feuds possible. I had a childless girlfriend tell me that seeing our baby be diagnosed with Ds has convinced her that she won’t try to have children after all, because of her advanced age. And yet, I am the one who feels for them, as they struggle to fit themselves into the standards if motherhood about which you write. Thank you for your writing.

    • Jisun

      April 5, 2013 at 12:19 am

      Not feuds. Fetus. As if a better mother would have chosen the most “perfect” fetus possible.

  13. Ginger

    April 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Brilliant. I read your piece in the Times as well and thought “THIS is what I have been saying.” When disability is seen only as a series of lacks there is no way to see the value. I wonder if people pause to consider that suffering is not limited to any “body.” The great pain of parenthood is that we can never know what suffering or joy may come.

  14. Ginger

    April 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Brilliant. I read your piece in the Times as well and thought “THIS is what I have been saying.” When disability is seen only as a series of lacks there is no way to see the value. I wonder if people pause to consider that suffering is not limited to any “body.” The great pain of parenthood is that we can never know what suffering or joy may come.

  15. Ginger

    April 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Brilliant. I read your piece in the Times as well and thought “THIS is what I have been saying.” When disability is seen only as a series of lacks there is no way to see the value. I wonder if people pause to consider that suffering is not limited to any “body.” The great pain of parenthood is that we can never know what suffering or joy may come.

  16. Ginger

    April 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Brilliant. I read your piece in the Times as well and thought “THIS is what I have been saying.” When disability is seen only as a series of lacks there is no way to see the value. I wonder if people pause to consider that suffering is not limited to any “body.” The great pain of parenthood is that we can never know what suffering or joy may come.

  17. Ginger

    April 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Also I did test and choose to keep my child with DS. There is so much guilty and blame there as well…from those who seem to think that I should have just not known because clearly I MUST have thought of termination(although we didn’t) to those who feel we were obligated to terminate and only kept her for selfish reasons. There is no winning as usual.

  18. Ginger

    April 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Also I did test and choose to keep my child with DS. There is so much guilty and blame there as well…from those who seem to think that I should have just not known because clearly I MUST have thought of termination(although we didn’t) to those who feel we were obligated to terminate and only kept her for selfish reasons. There is no winning as usual.

  19. Ginger

    April 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Also I did test and choose to keep my child with DS. There is so much guilty and blame there as well…from those who seem to think that I should have just not known because clearly I MUST have thought of termination(although we didn’t) to those who feel we were obligated to terminate and only kept her for selfish reasons. There is no winning as usual.

  20. Ginger

    April 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Also I did test and choose to keep my child with DS. There is so much guilty and blame there as well…from those who seem to think that I should have just not known because clearly I MUST have thought of termination(although we didn’t) to those who feel we were obligated to terminate and only kept her for selfish reasons. There is no winning as usual.

  21. Loren

    April 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    One thing that I find interesting is the fact that women are not checked to see if they are mentally healthy. A mother in her right mind would not think that her child was seriously damaged because of “two small falls”. I agree with the statement that women are held to higher standards when it comes to parenting than men, and I think that this is a significant part in the reasons why women fear mothering a disabled child. The line, “They’re afraid not because they want a “perfect” child but because they understand disability only to mean a life defined by suffering” is something very important to understand. How can you consider yourself a good mother when your child is in a constant state of suffering? How can you believe in you heart that you are truly a good mother when you have to sit there day in and day out, helplessly watching your child struggle with everyday tasks and can do nothing to help? Understanding the complexities of these questions can help support the argument that abortion is something that women should have the right to. If the best option in their mind is an abortion, something that may not be available to her, she will never feel that she is doing what is best for her child?

    I do not agree with the fact that it is a limited way of thinking. Many people with disabilities may live happy and fulfilling lives, but what if your child was one of the children who did not? We all know that children who are “different” have a hard time growing up. Many end up with self-esteem issues and I understand a mother’s choice to not want to have to watch her child suffer through that. So much pressure is put on women to raise the children which we consider our future, so shouldn’t we trust them with the decision of what is best for the child?

    I like this article a lot, and I plan on sharing it with many of the women in my life. I know they will appreciate it as well.

  22. Loren

    April 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    One thing that I find interesting is the fact that women are not checked to see if they are mentally healthy. A mother in her right mind would not think that her child was seriously damaged because of “two small falls”. I agree with the statement that women are held to higher standards when it comes to parenting than men, and I think that this is a significant part in the reasons why women fear mothering a disabled child. The line, “They’re afraid not because they want a “perfect” child but because they understand disability only to mean a life defined by suffering” is something very important to understand. How can you consider yourself a good mother when your child is in a constant state of suffering? How can you believe in you heart that you are truly a good mother when you have to sit there day in and day out, helplessly watching your child struggle with everyday tasks and can do nothing to help? Understanding the complexities of these questions can help support the argument that abortion is something that women should have the right to. If the best option in their mind is an abortion, something that may not be available to her, she will never feel that she is doing what is best for her child?

    I do not agree with the fact that it is a limited way of thinking. Many people with disabilities may live happy and fulfilling lives, but what if your child was one of the children who did not? We all know that children who are “different” have a hard time growing up. Many end up with self-esteem issues and I understand a mother’s choice to not want to have to watch her child suffer through that. So much pressure is put on women to raise the children which we consider our future, so shouldn’t we trust them with the decision of what is best for the child?

    I like this article a lot, and I plan on sharing it with many of the women in my life. I know they will appreciate it as well.

  23. Loren

    April 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    One thing that I find interesting is the fact that women are not checked to see if they are mentally healthy. A mother in her right mind would not think that her child was seriously damaged because of “two small falls”. I agree with the statement that women are held to higher standards when it comes to parenting than men, and I think that this is a significant part in the reasons why women fear mothering a disabled child. The line, “They’re afraid not because they want a “perfect” child but because they understand disability only to mean a life defined by suffering” is something very important to understand. How can you consider yourself a good mother when your child is in a constant state of suffering? How can you believe in you heart that you are truly a good mother when you have to sit there day in and day out, helplessly watching your child struggle with everyday tasks and can do nothing to help? Understanding the complexities of these questions can help support the argument that abortion is something that women should have the right to. If the best option in their mind is an abortion, something that may not be available to her, she will never feel that she is doing what is best for her child?

    I do not agree with the fact that it is a limited way of thinking. Many people with disabilities may live happy and fulfilling lives, but what if your child was one of the children who did not? We all know that children who are “different” have a hard time growing up. Many end up with self-esteem issues and I understand a mother’s choice to not want to have to watch her child suffer through that. So much pressure is put on women to raise the children which we consider our future, so shouldn’t we trust them with the decision of what is best for the child?

    I like this article a lot, and I plan on sharing it with many of the women in my life. I know they will appreciate it as well.

  24. Loren

    April 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    One thing that I find interesting is the fact that women are not checked to see if they are mentally healthy. A mother in her right mind would not think that her child was seriously damaged because of “two small falls”. I agree with the statement that women are held to higher standards when it comes to parenting than men, and I think that this is a significant part in the reasons why women fear mothering a disabled child. The line, “They’re afraid not because they want a “perfect” child but because they understand disability only to mean a life defined by suffering” is something very important to understand. How can you consider yourself a good mother when your child is in a constant state of suffering? How can you believe in you heart that you are truly a good mother when you have to sit there day in and day out, helplessly watching your child struggle with everyday tasks and can do nothing to help? Understanding the complexities of these questions can help support the argument that abortion is something that women should have the right to. If the best option in their mind is an abortion, something that may not be available to her, she will never feel that she is doing what is best for her child?

    I do not agree with the fact that it is a limited way of thinking. Many people with disabilities may live happy and fulfilling lives, but what if your child was one of the children who did not? We all know that children who are “different” have a hard time growing up. Many end up with self-esteem issues and I understand a mother’s choice to not want to have to watch her child suffer through that. So much pressure is put on women to raise the children which we consider our future, so shouldn’t we trust them with the decision of what is best for the child?

    I like this article a lot, and I plan on sharing it with many of the women in my life. I know they will appreciate it as well.

  25. Loren

    April 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    One thing that I find interesting is the fact that women are not checked to see if they are mentally healthy. A mother in her right mind would not think that her child was seriously damaged because of “two small falls”. I agree with the statement that women are held to higher standards when it comes to parenting than men, and I think that this is a significant part in the reasons why women fear mothering a disabled child. The line, “They’re afraid not because they want a “perfect” child but because they understand disability only to mean a life defined by suffering” is something very important to understand. How can you consider yourself a good mother when your child is in a constant state of suffering? How can you believe in you heart that you are truly a good mother when you have to sit there day in and day out, helplessly watching your child struggle with everyday tasks and can do nothing to help? Understanding the complexities of these questions can help support the argument that abortion is something that women should have the right to. If the best option in their mind is an abortion, something that may not be available to her, she will never feel that she is doing what is best for her child?
    I do not agree with the fact that it is a limited way of thinking. Many people with disabilities may live happy and fulfilling lives, but what if your child was one of the children who did not? We all know that children who are “different” have a hard time growing up. Many end up with self-esteem issues and I understand a mother’s choice to not want to have to watch her child suffer through that. So much pressure is put on women to raise the children which we consider our future, so shouldn’t we trust them with the decision of what is best for the child?
    I like this article a lot, and I plan on sharing it with many of the women in my life. I know they will appreciate it as well.

  26. Loren

    April 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    One thing that I find interesting is the fact that women are not checked to see if they are mentally healthy. A mother in her right mind would not think that her child was seriously damaged because of “two small falls”. I agree with the statement that women are held to higher standards when it comes to parenting than men, and I think that this is a significant part in the reasons why women fear mothering a disabled child. The line, “They’re afraid not because they want a “perfect” child but because they understand disability only to mean a life defined by suffering” is something very important to understand. How can you consider yourself a good mother when your child is in a constant state of suffering? How can you believe in you heart that you are truly a good mother when you have to sit there day in and day out, helplessly watching your child struggle with everyday tasks and can do nothing to help? Understanding the complexities of these questions can help support the argument that abortion is something that women should have the right to. If the best option in their mind is an abortion, something that may not be available to her, she will never feel that she is doing what is best for her child?
    I do not agree with the fact that it is a limited way of thinking. Many people with disabilities may live happy and fulfilling lives, but what if your child was one of the children who did not? We all know that children who are “different” have a hard time growing up. Many end up with self-esteem issues and I understand a mother’s choice to not want to have to watch her child suffer through that. So much pressure is put on women to raise the children which we consider our future, so shouldn’t we trust them with the decision of what is best for the child?
    I like this article a lot, and I plan on sharing it with many of the women in my life. I know they will appreciate it as well.

  27. Loren

    April 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    One thing that I find interesting is the fact that women are not checked to see if they are mentally healthy. A mother in her right mind would not think that her child was seriously damaged because of “two small falls”. I agree with the statement that women are held to higher standards when it comes to parenting than men, and I think that this is a significant part in the reasons why women fear mothering a disabled child. The line, “They’re afraid not because they want a “perfect” child but because they understand disability only to mean a life defined by suffering” is something very important to understand. How can you consider yourself a good mother when your child is in a constant state of suffering? How can you believe in you heart that you are truly a good mother when you have to sit there day in and day out, helplessly watching your child struggle with everyday tasks and can do nothing to help? Understanding the complexities of these questions can help support the argument that abortion is something that women should have the right to. If the best option in their mind is an abortion, something that may not be available to her, she will never feel that she is doing what is best for her child?
    I do not agree with the fact that it is a limited way of thinking. Many people with disabilities may live happy and fulfilling lives, but what if your child was one of the children who did not? We all know that children who are “different” have a hard time growing up. Many end up with self-esteem issues and I understand a mother’s choice to not want to have to watch her child suffer through that. So much pressure is put on women to raise the children which we consider our future, so shouldn’t we trust them with the decision of what is best for the child?
    I like this article a lot, and I plan on sharing it with many of the women in my life. I know they will appreciate it as well.

  28. Loren

    April 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    One thing that I find interesting is the fact that women are not checked to see if they are mentally healthy. A mother in her right mind would not think that her child was seriously damaged because of “two small falls”. I agree with the statement that women are held to higher standards when it comes to parenting than men, and I think that this is a significant part in the reasons why women fear mothering a disabled child. The line, “They’re afraid not because they want a “perfect” child but because they understand disability only to mean a life defined by suffering” is something very important to understand. How can you consider yourself a good mother when your child is in a constant state of suffering? How can you believe in you heart that you are truly a good mother when you have to sit there day in and day out, helplessly watching your child struggle with everyday tasks and can do nothing to help? Understanding the complexities of these questions can help support the argument that abortion is something that women should have the right to. If the best option in their mind is an abortion, something that may not be available to her, she will never feel that she is doing what is best for her child?
    I do not agree with the fact that it is a limited way of thinking. Many people with disabilities may live happy and fulfilling lives, but what if your child was one of the children who did not? We all know that children who are “different” have a hard time growing up. Many end up with self-esteem issues and I understand a mother’s choice to not want to have to watch her child suffer through that. So much pressure is put on women to raise the children which we consider our future, so shouldn’t we trust them with the decision of what is best for the child?
    I like this article a lot, and I plan on sharing it with many of the women in my life. I know they will appreciate it as well.