When you’re looking to start a family, getting the news that you are pregnant can be some of the most wonderful news you’ll ever expect to receive. So finding out that you are having identical twins may seem like even better news.
When Matt and Jodi Parry from Lancaster, England, received the news that they were pregnant for a second time, they were ecstatic. Having already had one son, they were thrilled to learn that they would be adding to their small family when doctors informed them that they would soon we welcoming identical twin girls into the world.
However, when the doctor took them aside just a few weeks after the girls had been born prematurely, the news he gave them would alter their lives: both the twins had Down’s Syndrome. At the time, Jodi and Matt thought of it as bad news, but soon learned that it was a blessing in disguise.
They were both shocked to learn of the diagnosis, but were more frustrated by the lack of information on advice given to them about how to raise children with Down’s Syndrome. The doctor had simply apologized as though it was bad news of which nothing could be done.
At the time, Jodi felt as though she had been handed a life sentence. “That day I didn’t feel like a mother,” she said. “I just felt lost and confused.”
Giving birth to identical twins with Down’s Syndrome is something of a one in a million occurrence, so Jodi and Matt knew that their resources would be limited. They did not know to what extent their baby girls would be able to live a normal life as far as walking, talking and playing like other children. However, they soon learned that what had seemed like a fairly bleak road ahead was actually the best news of their lives. Not only are Isobel and Abigail excelling and learning right along with their older brother but they are an inspiration to everyone around them.
“We grieved when we first found out and now we wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Jodi, who admitted that no one gave them the pros of having a baby with Down Syndrome. “To this day I’ll never know what the doctor was sorry for.”
In the video below, Isobel and Abigail can be seen playing and enjoying the outdoors just like any other child their age, showing just how high functioning they both are. Although they may have to undergo more hospital checkups, and though it may take them a little longer to learn certain things, they are not that much different from other children.
“The girls brought us together as a unit, but also made us live in the here and now,” said Matt.
Jodi offers an explanation as to how the pros of having a child with Down’s Syndrome are not fully understood, so that mothers often end up terminating the pregnancy when given the diagnosis.
People commenting offered different opinions on whether it is moral to terminate a baby in the womb based on the diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome.
“In Ireland you’re not given the option to terminate in any situation. This video shows 2 very highly functioning girls with DS, however this is not always the case. My cousin has DS and autism, he is 18 and still can’t even communicate properly never mind learn to write. He throws tantrums, he hits, he kicks, he smashes things. Although he is also the sweetest most caring little boy I know, he has stolen the life of his parents to care for him and he also has no real life of his own. He is a beautiful soul trapped in a ill functioning mind and it’s not a life I’d wish on any child.”
“I am very pro choice. But when it comes to aborting children with Down’s syndrome I’m against it. Because they are only choosing to terminate because their child had a mental disability. You can’t pick and choose. It’s just as bad as aborting a child based on gender.”