Downs Syndrome & Music


Disclaimer: This is not going to be a long article about the benefits/advantages/disadvantages/research surrounding Downs Syndrome (which I have misspelled a number of times – I am blaming that on pregnancy brain) and music. I basically don’t want to take over the blog as a whole by only writing about pregnancy over the next 5 months, or baby after that. This is two subjects, one post, of just my thoughts and feelings. Any (respectful) comments are welcome.

Part 1. Downs Syndrome

Today I got a letter from Warwick Hospital today which let me know that the (horrific) blood tests had given us the answer that my individual risk for Down’s Syndrome is 1:3900.

This is low risk, and in part that means I don’t have to go through anymore tests (yay) but otherwise I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel about this.

I completely understand that people, and children, with downs syndrome suffer higher chances of a number of other issues, and are sometimes dramatically physically and intellectually disabled. But this isn’t true of all, and that doesn’t mean that the children and adults aren’t beautiful children all the same, and to celebrate a low-risk feels kind of wrong, as if I’d be celebrating that my child won’t be “like them”.

It just doesn’t feel right.

When I looked up what the numbers actually meant, it worked out that my chances of having a baby with Downs Syndrome are 0.0256… That’s pretty low. If your ratio is more than 1:150 then they suggest you are “at risk” or “high risk”. But that still gives a percentage of less than 1%. The highest risk that I’ve seen is something like 1:4. At this point a number of women might decide to terminate the pregnancy.
What I find difficult (and this is not meant as a judgement, just a feeling) is that in a way that means that 3/4 of the babies terminated could not have Downs Syndrome, and so the attempt to avoid it was pointless..

When Bear and I talked about the tests that might be offered through pregnancy, we decided that the blood test would be good to have in order to know our chances, and if high, simply be prepared, learn a little more about what our child might need above the ordinary. We never wanted to do the internal exam because after two miscarriages, the tiny risk is enough to make us halt and never want to be able to blame a miscarriage on a decision we made. No matter the rationale, your mind can play cruel tricks on you while you greave.

Do I wish Downs Syndrome didn’t exist? Of course I do, in the same way I don’t want a number of other painful disadvantages people have in life, some from birth, some not, to exist. Does that mean I think people with Downs Syndrome shouldn’t have been born? No. Quite simply because to do so protects the “normal” people from seeing something painful, but it denies the beauty in the life of someone born, someone loved, and someone living.

Part 2. Music

Apparently at this point in my pregnancy (approx. 16weeks) Little Cub is starting to hear things (other than just the fizz in my belly after a meal) and so I’ve started thinking about music and what I can introduce my growing person to. Part me wonders whether if they get use to something pretty now, whether it’ll help them sleep/rest/relax when they are a screaming mess of poop and exhaustion. It would be lovely not to have to play hard heavy metal or hoover to get them to sleep so I’ve been thinking of immersing myself in beautiful music rather than mind-numbing escapist TV. I would far rather my child relate to the classically brilliant The Planets than the Scrubs theme tune, and if you call me a snob then pah!

I would also love to get a little bit more variety in my life culturally so I’m looking for world music, whether that be Scottish folk, Austrailian Aboriginee story songs, or Asian influences of instruments I’ve never heard of.

So far I’ve got a beautiful lullaby that my wonderful friend Caz posted me and I would love to learn it off by heart to sing (of course, that may wake them up rather than sweep them off to sleep), but in the meantime I thought I’d share it with you.

Hush-a-bye Birdie Croon (The Lullabye Project – Emily Portman)

And then there’s this, which is a family favourite (particularly my Dad and I) and I would LOVE to get a ukulele and learn it. Might be a bit of a push but it is beautiful.

Blackbird (Ukulele cover of The Beatles)

Then there are these guys! I mean seriously, if my baby doesn’t like awesome mixes like this I may be a little disappointed…

Don’t You Worry Child (The Piano Guys cover of Swedish House Mafia)

As you can see I’m gathering some great music, but I would LOVE some more please, so seriously, please post links, suggestions, from wherever around the world you may be from. What does your baby love? What always makes you feel amazing? Variety is great and even if I don’t like everything I will be eternally grateful for the offer!!!

PLEASE suggest some music in the comments, PLEASE!

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