A loving mother has written a heartbreaking letter to the doctor she says advised her to terminate her pregnancy because her daughter had Down’s syndrome and her “quality of life would be horrible”.
Just over a year after the birth of her daughter Emersyn Faith, Courtney Baker of Sanford, Florida, had Emmy, now 15 months old, photographed as she posted the letter to the prenatal medicine specialist “who didn’t want her to live” after her prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Even after refusing to terminate her pregnancy, Courtney said her doctor urged her to have an abortion, but nearly two years after learning of Emmy’s diagnosis, the mother bravely shares her story.
Courtney asked Down syndrome advocate Parker Myles to share the powerful image of Emmy sending the letter on her Facebook page to show that her doctor was “incredibly wrong” in his suggestion.
In her letter, Courtney recalls that a friend recently told her that her prenatal doctor always said “he’s perfect” when looking at her ultrasounds.
When her son was born with Down syndrome, she consulted this same doctor. He looked at her baby boy and said, ‘I told you so. He’s perfect,” she said. His story tore me apart.
Courtney explained that she was “grateful” for her friend’s experience, but was “filled with such sadness” because this is what should have happened with her doctor, but didn’t.
I came to you at the most difficult time in my life. I was terrified, anxious, and in complete despair,” she writes. I didn’t know the truth about my baby yet, and that’s what I desperately needed from you. But instead of supporting and encouraging me, you suggested we have an abortion.
Courtney says that even when she revealed Emersyn’s name to her doctor, he asked her and her partner again if they understood how much their quality of life would be reduced if they had a child with Down’s syndrome.
From that first visit, we dreaded our appointments,” she recalls. The most difficult period of my life became almost unbearable because you never told me the truth. My child was perfect.
Courtney said she wasn’t “angry” or “bitter”, but “really sad” that her doctor wasn’t “perpetually amazed” by the little beating hearts he sees every day.
I am saddened that you were wrong to say that a baby with Down syndrome would diminish our quality of life,” she writes. And I’m heartbroken that you would say that to a mom, even today. But mostly I’m saddened that you’ll never have the privilege of knowing my daughter, Emersyn.”
Courtney, who has two older daughters, Rhyan, 15, and Evynn, 11, went on to insist that Emersyn had improved her family’s quality of life and “touched the hearts of thousands”, giving them “a purpose and joy impossible to express”.
My prayer is that you, too, will see true beauty and pure love in every ultrasound,” Courtney concludes in her letter. And my prayer is that, when you see the next baby with Down syndrome nestled tenderly in the womb, you will look at that mom and see me telling her the truth: ‘Your child is perfect.
Thousands of Facebook users saw and reposted Courtney’s message, and many left comments praising the mother of three or told similar stories about their doctors.
Courtney told ABC News that she had always known she would write a letter to her doctor, even before Emmy was born.
After taking more than a year to write and mail the letter, Courtney said the whole process was therapeutic.
Every action, from opening and closing the mailbox to raising the red flag, gave me closure,” she explains. I have no idea how the doctor will react to my letter, but I have faith that God can perform any miracle and change any heart.
READ COURTNEY BAKER’S FULL LETTER TO HER DOCTOR
A friend recently told me of when her prenatal specialist would see her child during her sonograms, he would comment, ‘He’s perfect’. Once her son was born with Down syndrome, she visited that same doctor. He looked at her little boy and said, ‘I told you. He’s perfect’.
Her story tore me apart. While I was so grateful for my friend’s experience, it filled me with such sorrow because of what I should have had. I wish you would have been that doctor.
I came to you during the most difficult time in my life. I was terrified, anxious and in complete despair. I didn’t know the truth yet about my baby, and that’s what I desperately needed from you. But instead of support and encouragement, you suggested we terminate our child. I told you her name, and you asked us again if we understood how low our quality of life would be with a child with Down syndrome. You suggested we reconsider our decision to continue the pregnancy.
From that first visit, we dreaded our appointments. The most difficult time in my life was made nearly unbearable because you never told me the truth.
My child was perfect.
I’m not angry. I’m not bitter. I’m really just sad. I’m sad the tiny beating hearts you see every day don’t fill you with a perpetual awe. I’m sad the intricate details and the miracle of those sweet little fingers and toes, lungs and eyes and ears don’t always give you pause. I’m sad you were so very wrong to say a baby with Down syndrome would decrease our quality of life. And I’m heartbroken you might have said that to a mommy even today. But I’m mostly sad you’ll never have the privilege of knowing my daughter, Emersyn.
Because, you see, Emersyn has not only added to our quality of life, she’s touched the hearts of thousands. She’s given us a purpose and a joy that is impossible to express. She’s given us bigger smiles, more laughter and sweeter kisses than we’ve ever known. She’s opened our eyes to true beauty and pure love.
So my prayer is that no other mommy will have to go through what I did. My prayer is that you, too, will now see true beauty and pure love with every sonogram. And my prayer is when you see that next baby with Down syndrome lovingly tucked in her mother’s womb, you will look at that mommy and see me then tell her the truth: ‘Your child is absolutely perfect.’