(Save the 1) When I was born I had a rough start. I was having seizures, fluid on the brain and my lungs almost collapsed. I spent several weeks in the hospital in St. Johns, New Foundland, Canada.
Eventually, the doctor’s ascertained that I have Turner syndrome. Only 2 percent of girls with my condition survive to birth. Seventy-six percent of those like me who are diagnosed prenatally are aborted – never even given the chance to survive.
Not only did I survive natural death and escape abortion, I was born on my due date. You see, I was a fighter even in the womb.
My parents didn’t know I had any heath issues until my birth, but when I got older I began to understand the gravity of my diagnosis and the numbers of children who are aborted, So when I was in high school, I asked my mom the tough question: “If you had known I had Turner Syndrome, would you have aborted me?” Her response was, “More than likely – yes.”
Although that hurt me deeply — and it still does — I had learned to put that aside and focus my energy on making the most of my life, despite the painful reality. A nurse once encouraged me, “You are not Turner’s with a little bit of Feleica, you are Feleica who just so happens to have Turner’s, so do not let your diagnosis define you.” There were profound words for me which I took to heart.
I have a sister who is four years older than me, and she was born healthy. We were both raised very well, and I never felt like I was treated differently because of my diagnosis. Because of the pain of hearing my mother say she would likely have aborted me, I never brought this up to my dad because I knew I couldn’t handle hearing him say it too.
I am now 29 years old, happy, healthy and thriving. I get to experience the love of my God and my spouse; I get to get kisses good morning and kisses good night; I get to go to work and provide for my family; I get to make my nephew laugh; I get to lay down and watch the stars; I get to sing in the shower and laugh with love ones so hard my stomach hurts; and, I get to give back to the world what life gave to me.
As far as my diagnosis, my fertility is what’s affected me today. I am unable to have biological children, but I have a husband who loves me despite this. We met seven years ago via a dating website. He’s also from New Foundland. I had immediately let him know my diagnosis and that I’m unable to bear children, because I knew that it was important for me to find someone who would love anyway. My husband said, “The grounds for me loving you is not dependent upon whether or not you are able to have children.” He says, “I love you for you.” His whole family has been great and treated me me wonderfully.
My husband and I are very active in the pro-life movement, especially advocating for those who don’t get as much support by those who claim to be pro-life — the “exceptions.” It was very important to me that my husband was pro-life when we met. I got involved in activism about four years ago, then my husband began getting involved as well. Doing pro-life volunteer work together has drawn us closer because we’re doing something that means so much personally to both of us. My mom is pro-choice to this day and is not at all happy that I’m involved in pro-life activism, but I am compelled to advocate for the lives of the vulnerable, as well as for families who are faced with a difficult pre-natal diagnosis. Families need resources and encouragement, NOT a “way out.”
I want to use the health I’ve been given to advocate for those who don’t have a voice and for the pregnant women who need someone to reach out to them. I am fueled even more because there are advocates who support exceptions. No exceptions should be allowed! Without us advocating on behalf of those who are devalued and dehumanized as the exceptions, more women and families would feel their only option is to abort. We are here to listen, comfort and connect them to life-affirming resources. That’s why it’s so important for me and for others to speak out.
As a case in point, I recently posted a meme I created with me image, and these words: “No matter my diagnosis, I still matter.” A woman who was told that her child had Turner’s Syndrome and was encouraged to abort commented under my meme, “I wish I had seen this when I was pregnant.” She had not aborted her child, but was under pressure from her family to abort, and she felt this was something positive she could have shared with all of them to open their eyes.
For parents dealing with a challenging prenatal diagnosis, please hang in there. I can’t tell you what the future will look like, but I can tell you the doctors were wrong about mine. For parents raising a child with anomalies, focus on helping them to discover the gifts they have to give to this world instead of their limitations. Avail yourselves of the resources and support which are at your disposal. Join our Save The 1 Carry to Birth group on Facebook for more support.
If you talk to me about exceptions, I will show you my life. But it’s not just about me. It’s about all those who are being targeted because they cannot speak for themselves. We deserve a chance!
BIO: Feleica Langdon is a wife and Home Support Worker, residing in Gander, New Foundland and Labrador, Canada. She’s also a pro-life blogger and Facebook Page Editor for Save The 1 and started a support network on Facebook called Support For Pro Life Advocates Worldwide.