Thursday, October 20, 2011

Posterity

Selfishly, one of the few things that makes me sad about Pacey having Down syndrome is that he won't be a biological father - and most likely, not a father at all in the traditional sense.

I grew up with two siblings and lots of cousins. My mom is one of six children and most of her siblings had at least two children. So, a big pack of us cousins spent a lot of time together during our childhood. Some of them live in California and we got together occasionally with them and now our kids, which was completely awesome.

Anyway, I guess my definition of family has always been bigger than just a nuclear family. Of course, having just two siblings myself (Chris is one of four but two are much younger half-siblings), we were never really going to continue a line of larger families and millions of cousins. But it seems sad to me that, should Brighton have kids one day - which I very, very much hope she does - Pacey won't be the source of any cousins for her children. It's one of the factors that we think and talk about as we consider what we'd like our completed family size to look like.

There isn't much that I think is truly out of reach for people with Down syndrome these days. And I know it's not impossible for a person with Ds to be a biological parent (at least a woman...as I understand it it would be extremely rare for a male to be capable of reproducing) or even end up in a parental role by other means. But it won't be a straightforward choice* for Pacey and that makes me sad.

(Don't mean to be a downer, but am trying to be pretty honest about different aspects of parenting a child with Ds).


*I do acknowledge, of course, that the ability to have children is not always a given, nor straightforward, regardless of your chromosomal makeup.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am 53, not married (yet), and I don't have kids. I can't even blame it on anything in particular. It makes MY mother sad. So ... you just never know.

Tami Leitz said...

Thanks for addressing this. It's one of those things we think about and definitely one of the reasons we have more kids but it's not something people who don't share the situation think about. One of the other big ones for me (why we had another so close in age) is that I don't want Makenna to feel all this responsibility for Claire. I want her to have a helper and another companion. People ask us if we wish we had a boy. For now, I'm glad they are girls and I pray they learn to support one another.