Sometimes I read Dianne sections of things I am reading. On Saturday I asked what she thought of this statement following a description of the burdens placed on families experiencing disability:
These are not trivial burdens, and the desire to avoid them does not indicate a character flaw, any more than wanting to avoid a hiatus in one’s education or career. Whether a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy to avoid the burdens that come with being a mother, or whether she wants to terminate a pregnancy to avoid burdens that come with being the mother of this child, the rationale for the abortion is the same: the avoidance of burdens that she finds unacceptable. Bonnie Steinbock, Disability, Prenatal Testing and Selective Abortion in Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights edited by Erik Parens and Adrienne Asche, p. 119.
Dianne’s simple response: it is the highest privilege of my life to be the mother of that boy.
After more than 15 years of living with and caring for our son, she has no romantic notions about what living with disability is like. The relentless nature of disability is understood, and the particular burdens that come with this boy drive us to God on a regular basis.
That is the difference. As his parents, we know we are needy and that the daily issues of his disability would crush us. Bonnie Steinbock is articulating a normal outcome of radical individualism. The mother, in her example, is completely alone. Our culture tells us that we are entirely free to make any decision we desire, even if it results in the destruction of a smaller human being. Implied in that is that if you choose the harder, better thing, they will abandon you to that choice because it inconveniences them.
God does not abandon us. And not only are we not alone, but God has promised to supply every need (Philippians 4:19), that his plan is to benefit us (Jeremiah 29:11), Jesus himself will send a helper (John 14:16-17), God will comfort us (Psalm 71:20-21), and he has given us other people to encourage us (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
So, ‘as sorrowful yet always rejoicing’ (2 Corinthians 6:10), Dianne can authentically say, God has granted and sustains the honor of mothering this boy.