Dr. Manny: Do not ever give up a child with special needs

Do not ever give up a child with special needs.

In my 30 years of delivering babies, I have seen many unfortunate circumstances in which a child is brought into this world with an unexpected challenge. Sometimes, the challenges are genetic, or sometimes they are developmentally induced, but no doubt the child has special needs. In these special pregnancies, a parent may be fortunate enough to know the challenges ahead of time, and can analyze the situation, and work with their doctors to understand it. It gives the parents time to bring comfort and compassion to their pregnancy.

I recently read a story that shook me to my core, about a couple in Armenia who were told after the birth of their child, that he was special needs. The father, looking at his child, felt an instant connection and immediately accepted the news and his son as his own. On the other end of the spectrum, this man’s wife rejected the child and threatened that if the father did not do the same, the marriage would be over.

The father chose his child.

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It seems that in this part of the world, parents have a choice to abandon their children and leave them with social services, never to see them again, never to claim parental responsibility. How sad. How cold.

I applaud this father for his kind heart, and realizing that every child in this world is special and deserves our love. How shameful on the part of the doctors for allowing abandonment to be a choice upon a child’s delivery. And how sad I feel for the mother, for I believe she does not realize what she has done. I know that she will one day regret this, or I hope at least, that she does. An action like this will be embedded into her conscience and will play itself back when she least expects it.

This is not the first time that we have seen or read about horrific cases like this. There was recently the case of an Australian couple, who paid a woman in Thailand to act as a surrogate and carry their twins, only to abandon one of the twins after he was born with Down syndrome. What an unthinkable act.

I have delivered and met many children with Down syndrome. These kids are a loving, kind, intuitive bunch who go on to become active members and participants in our society. They are wonderful people who most often only want love and kindness from us. Any human who does not see that is a fool.

I hope that you read the full story of this new father and his newborn son on our website, and help them continue their journey back to New Zealand for a better life.