“I’m very sorry, I have the results of the genetic tests and they have confirmed our suspicions that your fetus is what we call… Normal. Some people prefer the terms “Ordinarily Challenged” or “Normal Syndrome”. The syndrome can be easily identified by a complete lack of any interesting genetic characteristics. I know this will come as a shock to you, but you should be aware of what this is likely to mean.
If your fetus manages to survive the rest of the pregnancy and the birth, which is becoming more common these days, he or she will face some daunting challenges. Children who suffer from normalcy are prone to health and psychological problems. It is almost certain that the growing child will suffer a seemingly endless stream of viruses. They will frequently damage themselves, and sometimes others, from their excessive energy.
Their relentless demands will put a strain on your existing family and, of course, your relationship with your partner will suffer, and possibly end in a painful and acrimonious separation. Any children you already have, even if they also suffer from normalcy, will be jealous of the newcomer and all their extra attention. Many siblings are liable to be psychologically scarred by the new arrival.
I need hardly mention the financial consequences, although disastrous, they will be nothing compared to the emotional turmoil your life will suffer.
After a while, you may be lucky and find they can be kind and loving young children. They may find some temporary happiness in things such as music, dancing, food or playing with toys.
But if they survive early childhood, a Normal child is almost certain to grow into a Normal adolescent. Your years of sacrifice will be thrown back in your face as they become disobedient, wild and reckless. Unable to find happiness and contentment, they will treat you with contempt until they manage to leave home. Even then the suffering will continue as they will often return to try and extract money. They will blame you for their own faults and leave you bitter and twisted.
They may well become criminals, over a quarter of Normals will have trouble with the law, many will spend time in jail. Many will have problems with alcohol or drug abuse. Normal marriages are often unhappy and short and over half end in divorce.
Even if they become successful this is likely to be because of the often observed tendency of Normals towards excessive greed. The chances of them sharing their success with you are remote and they will tend to see you as an embarrasment.
Finally, Normal people are likely to die before their time. 23% will die of cancer, 33% of heart disease. Hundreds every year in this country alone are so distressed by their condition that they take their own life. I’m sorry to say that many will have had a lonely, painful and pointless existence.
I am afraid that Normal Syndrome is a genetic condition that affects every cell of the body, and so is impossible to cure.
Termination is an option.
Shall I book an appointment?”
*I’m Sorry, Your Baby is Normal
**by Bob Lincoln
Thursday, 6 February 2003*
Of course, this is not how the results were given to me… I was merely told that I tested negative for Trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome), Trisomy 18 (Edward’s syndrome) and Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome).
I first read the above piece a few hours after I had had the amnio and I found it thought provoking. I hope you do too.