Today we begin our 9-month campaign to highlight maternal and early childhood issues. March will focus on pregnancy centers and adoption. But to start out we wanted to share this story about a young woman from central PA and her unplanned path to motherhood.
26-year old Victoria has shared countless pictures of her young son, Rowan, on social media. It’s hard to tell who is having more fun—mom or son.
“He’s a blast,” she said. “He’s got a lot of personality.”
But the mood was much different back in January of 2020 when Victoria found out that she was pregnant.
“My nurse helped me set up an appointment with Planned Parenthood. That was the first thought that went through my head. Oh my God, how am I going to do this? I can’t do this.”
The fateful encounter was a casual one and Victoria was not in a relationship with the father. Her first healthcare visit led her to believe that she was only a couple of months pregnant. Subsequent tests revealed she was actually 17 weeks along. The proposed meeting with Planned Parenthood never took place.
“My views changed when I was told 17 weeks. There was absolutely no way I would ever do that. My first thought when I thought I was not as far along was that I was going to go with the abortion but then once I had time to think about it, I don’t think could have gone through with it anyways.”
Victoria says she had a good support system with her family, along with the father and his family. But they she was told that a test revealed there was a 46% chance that her baby would have Down syndrome. Further tests were inconclusive and Victoria was facing a ton of uncertainty.
“I actually decided not to get an amnio. I didn’t want to risk a miscarriage. I figured it’s going to be what it’s going to be. They treated me as a false positive and then he was diagnosed at birth.”
But before Victoria learned of that diagnosis and has she was groggily chatting with a nurse following delivery, she heard something that struck her deeply.
“I was like, oh the doctor said he was going to have Down syndrome and went into the whole story and she said—I remember this specifically—would you love him any differently if he did have Down syndrome? And I said no.”
Victoria says Rowan went through some health issues and had to have surgery to correct a gastrointestinal issue. She says that ever since he had that he’s rarely ever in a bad mood. And Victoria has heard from people all over the world who have found out about her situation and have reached out to her through Instagram for advice.
“Trying to tell people—It’s definitely scary at first, but once you get into your own routine and swing of things the positive moments outweigh the scary moments and the hard moments.”