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Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I know there are many, many people out there who have the opinion that individuals with Down syndrome are a burden. It's one of the most common 'arguments' for being in favor of terminating a pregnancy for Down syndrome.

I've read it time and time again, "I can't bring a child like that in to this world knowing they will be a burden. Be a burden on me, my family, and society."

Like many other myths and misconceptions out there, this one makes me cringe. How anyone can look at my child and think she is a burden to anyone just breaks my heart.

So lets look at the definition of burden. There are several definitions on dictionary.com.

- that which is carried; load
that which is borne with difficulty
to load heavily
- to load oppressively; trouble

Can't say any of those descriptions describe Kayla, or what it's like raising a child with Down syndrome.

The only thing that comes remotely close is the legal definition:
- something that is a duty, obligation, or responsibility burden of proving every element of the offense

When you bring a child in to this world, as a parent it is your responsibility to raise that child. So according to the legal definition then yes, I guess it is a burden of mine and Joe's to raise Kayla. Just as it is a burden to raise Lucas, who is also our child. Just as it is a burden to every single person out there who has a child.

So if you're already a parent raising a child, and you think my child is a burden ... take a look in the mirror. Your own child is a burden as well, since it is your duty and responsibility, aka burden to take care of and raise your child.

And if we go by that definition - well anyone who is employed must be burdened by their job since it is their duty and responsibility to accomplish their workload.

As for being a burden to society? My child is a human being. She is a member of society. No more, no less. Definitely not a burden to society, but a living, breathing member of the human race, of society.

And if my child needs a little more help throughout life that still doesn't make her a burden to society. Where is it wrong to need help to be as independent as you can be, to accomplish your goals, to reach your potential? That's why there are programs and supports in place. Needing help does not equal being a burden.

An extra chromosome doesn't equal being a burden. It's just something that is.

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Mom24 said...

Well said.

To Love Endlessly said...

great post! perfectly put. :-)

Kelly said...

Simply stated and straight to the point!! Great post Michelle=)

Type (little) a said...

Hear Hear! Kayla is a person who deserves as much love, respect and dignity as any of us.

Tina said...


Michelle said...

VERY well said, Michelle and I'm going to share it! :)

Yo Mamma Mamma! said...

I don't have a burden here either! Thank you for that lovely post!

patsy said...

very beautifully written. our maggie rae is a 'burden' i feel blessed to have and would not ahve it any other way :)

A Lady Called Amy said...


Anonymous said...

Love this post! So true and wise!

PEA said...

I will be back to catch up on your posts but right now I just wanted to invite you to my birthday party on my blog...get ready to do the jitterbug:-) xoxo

Christina said...

This is such a great post!