I read this article in the New York Times this week. It’s the story of a neuroscientist whose daughter was born with Down Syndrome. Dr. Costa did what any of us would have done facing a diagnosis of a loved one; he threw himself into research. The difference is he is now close to finding an effective treatment for Down Syndrome.
In a quote pulled from the article, Dr. Costa said, “Things happen for a reason…” implying that he would have not moved into this field of research at all had he not had a personal reason.
Now the whole “things happen for a reason” thing usually rubs me the wrong way. It’s right up there with “it’s all in God’s plan.” My own personal belief system doesn’t go along with the idea that my life has been mapped out for me, and that being unable to have children is all part of some grand scheme for me to do something else instead. Just as I don’t believe that Dr. Costa’s daughter was born with Down Syndrome so that he could be the one to find a cure.
My life is different because I don’t have children. Opportunities will come along and I’ll be able to take them because I don’t have the responsibility of parenthood. And, while it’s unlikely that I’ll be the one to find a cure for infertility because of my own diagnosis, I do believe that, like Dr. Costa, I will someday look back on my life and see that something good happened to me because I was infertile.
Just don’t know what that is yet, but I’m looking.
P.S. On a personal note, my friend Sarah is a vocal Down Syndrome advocate for her beautiful three-year-old son, Gideon. She’s currently promoting a fundraising drive for Down Syndrome Research and Treatment. Information here, if you’re interested.