Before I had the first trimester test, H and I ended up having one of the random debates in which we often engage. This time it was over abortion, and it wasn't as random as normal. I had always assumed H and I were on the same page in terms of not aborting for something like Down syndrome. Thus I was surprised when he brought up some points. He explained that they had debated this in a class he took his first year at the UNAM. And he raised concerns about health, quality of life, etc. When I was clearly becoming distressed, he insisted that he was just debating the issue. "It doesn't matter anyway." he said, "Chances are it's not an issue we'll ever have to face."
My first inkling something was not quite "right" was when the Dr. called and left a message about my test results. I had not heard the phone because I was napping. By the time I listened to his message, his office was closed. I cried in H's arm because I knew something was wrong. When I called the Dr., H was there holding my hand. "It's going to be okay." he reassured me. "Wonder if she has Down syndrome?" I cried. "It will be okay." he said. When I worried about whether we should have the amniocentesis, he gave me his opinion (Yes) but let me make the final decision. When it was time for the actual test, I pushed him away and went in with my mom. I was scared that he wouldn't love the baby if she had Down syndrome.
When we found out, H was so positive and laid back. He held me while I cried but acted thrilled that he was getting another girl. I was sure he was faking it because my mom was there, and because he didn't want to hurt me. I was scared that he wanted me to abort but didn't dare say anything. When my mom left to go home, I finally just asked him "Do you want to keep this baby?" "Of course I do!" he answered shocked.
And from that moment H was the one who pulled us into the light when I fell into darkness. He never wavered in his love for Jude. He shot down all my fears with excellent arguments. He was the one who pointed out that we didn't value the success of the world anyway so why was it a big deal to have a child who wouldn't succeed in such a way anyway? Did we want that for any of our children? When I worried she would be judged for how she looked, he was the one who pointed out that I had lived this already with four children who looked Hispanic. He was the one who voiced that we could do it. He never doubted. I knew he was worried about her health but it was never a reason to not love her.
When Jude was born,the joy on his face was clear. He hadn't been faking this for me as I had feared. He held that baby so tight, so close. He stayed with her the whole time they checked her over. She won his heart from the second she looked into his eyes. H showed me how to love her in those early moments. I don't think he ever saw the Down syndrome. He just saw Jude.
I have heard a lot of stories of fathers who didn't want a child with Down syndrome. Who faked being strong so that their wives could depend upon them. But I honestly don't think that H ever faked anything. He really just didn't see the problem in having a child with special needs. For him, Jude was just another beautiful beastie to add our band. Her difference was no different than all of our difference.
As I watch him with her, snuggling her close while he grades paper or reads articles, I realize he is a man who lives his theories. H's passion for humans rights and the theorists who write about such things is not just an academic love. It's a love that manifests in the ways that he combats the abuses of capitalism. The way he fights for the rights of undocumented workers. H is not idle thinker. He cares deeply about injustice. And because of this he never saw Jude as something to be feared, dreaded, or tossed aside. I am confident that H will fight as hard for Jude as he does for everything he loves deeply.