I recently read Baby Love by Rebecca Walker. I could relate to her ambivalence about becoming a mother, her difficult birth and her inability to remember any lullabies. I was also excited to read that she’d made a trip to Shikoku, the island where I live, although she didn’t have a great time. And I appreciated her defense of fatherhood. Feminist or not, I think we have to recognize the importance of fathers in the lives of our children.
But on page 89, when she’s trying to decide whether or not to have an amnio, she writes “I just can’t get too excited about a huge needle that close to my baby. On the other hand, I have to be honest with myself about being able to care for a baby with special needs. I don’t think I can do it.”
Here’s the thing, Rebecca: No one wants to give birth to a baby with special needs. Don’t we all say, “as long as it’s healthy”? And probably most of us believe that we are incapable of caring for a child with special needs. To be honest, if someone had told me when I was pregnant that my daughter would be deaf and unable to walk, I would have been very disappointed. And yet now, I can’t imagine not having Lilia with us. I would rather have Lilia as she is than not have her at all. She has made me a better person.
Having a child with special needs isn’t necessarily bad.