When Courtney Baker found out she was pregnant it was a joyous moment, but that joy quickly turned to fear, doubt, and anger when her doctor informed her that her baby had Down syndrome and urged her to terminate the pregnancy.
Throughout her pregnancy, when she went to the specialist, she felt pressured to abort her child. Even after she told the doctor they had picked a name for their unborn daughter and were planning on keeping her, he told her that her family would have a low quality of life if they chose to let the baby live and asked if she wanted to reconsider.
Courtney didn’t, and little Emersyn is now 15 months old and the light of her family’s life. “He was so unbelievably wrong,” Courtney said.
She knew, even before Emersyn was born, that she wanted to write a letter to her doctor explaining her side of things and why she was so hurt and disappointed by his words and actions. “I knew how important it was going to be to write that letter, before Emmy was even born,” she told ABC News.
It took her a while to figure out exactly what she wanted to say, but Courtney and Emmy finally mailed that letter together. “Every action, from opening and closing the mailbox to raising the red flag, was closure for me,” Courtney said. “I have no idea how the doctor might have reacted to my letter, but I do have faith that God can work any miracle and he can change any heart.”
You can read the letter in its entirety below:
A friend recently told me of when her prenatal specialist would see her child during her sonograms, he would comment, “He’s perfect.” Once her son was born with Down syndrome, she visited that same doctor. He looked at her little boy and said, “I told you. He’s perfect.”
Her story tore me apart. While I was so grateful for my friend’s experience, it filled me with such sorrow because of what I should have had. I wish you would have been that doctor.
I came to you during the most difficult time in my life. I was terrified, anxious and in complete despair. I didn’t know the truth yet about my baby, and that’s what I desperately needed from you. But instead of support and encouragement, you suggested we terminate our child. I told you her name, and you asked us again if we understood how low our quality of life would be with a child with Down syndrome. You suggested we reconsider our decision to continue the pregnancy.
From that first visit, we dreaded our appointments. The most difficult time in my life was made nearly unbearable because you never told me the truth. My child was perfect.
I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’m really just sad. I’m sad the tiny beating hearts you see every day don’t fill you with a perpetual awe. I’m sad the intricate details and the miracle of those sweet little fingers and toes, lungs and eyes and ears don’t always give you pause. I’m sad you were so very wrong to say a baby with Down syndrome would decrease our quality of life. And I’m heartbroken you might have said that to a mommy even today. But I’m mostly sad you’ll never have the privilege of knowing my daughter, Emersyn.
Because, you see, Emersyn has not only added to our quality of life, she’s touched the hearts of thousands. She’s given us a purpose and a joy that is impossible to express. She’s given us bigger smiles, more laughter and sweeter kisses than we’ve ever known. She’s opened our eyes to true beauty and pure love.
So my prayer is that no other mommy will have to go through what I did. My prayer is that you, too, will now see true beauty and pure love with every sonogram.
And my prayer is when you see that next baby with Down syndrome lovingly tucked in her mother’s womb, you will look at that mommy and see me then tell her the truth: “Your child is perfect.”
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