My friend DJ and I met Paul on the last day of the pilgrimage that became The Making of Us, the conversation moving to Paul’s family life and the excitement around their new arrival.
“Have you found out the sex of the baby yet?” I asked Paul.
“Yes,” he said, “we’re having a little girl.”
I thought of that little girl with her unique body and matchless face—Dad’s nose perhaps, Mum’s lips, maybe the chin or hair from a great-grandmother somewhere, that unique body and face even now already a someone because of the fabric of relationships she’s woven into. Right now, still unborn, she was a daughter and a sister and a grandchild and a niece, and soon to be a friend, a neighbour and a citizen.
“Has the pregnancy gone well?” I asked.
“Actually,” Paul said, “it’s been stressful. All the signs are pointing to our little girl having Down syndrome. That’s been hard to face, but the real stress has come from medical staff who’ve treated us with disdain for keeping her, saying we should try again for a ‘normal’ child.”
A normal child?
That little girl, with her unique body and matchless face, would soon be born, given the name Phoebe, and bring all sorts of joy, personality and talent into the world. Without her the world would miss out on a daughter, sister, granddaughter and friend. Scripture describes her as being fearfully and wonderfully made, whatever her physical challenges—reflecting something of God’s own nature, carrying not just human but divine value.
Try again for a ‘normal’ child?
That little girl was sacred.
One Unrepeatable Existence