I started work on Penny’s baby book a few months after she was born. The first few pages were easy–showers and gifts and memories of being pregnant. And then I got to the section that asked me to describe her birth. I wrote down her full name, her birthday, her length and weight and eye…

There’s a new test in development that diagnoses Down syndrome without the risk of miscarriage. Instead of using amniocentesis, which involves extracting amniotic fluid from the uterus, this test draws blood from the mother. Since the baby’s blood comingles with the mother’s, the test looks for a heightened presence of the 21st chromosome as a…

Before I offer a post (check back tomorrow) in response to a new prenatal test for Down syndrome, I want to clarify some terms. Prenatal screening and prenatal diagnosis are not the same. Prenatal screening comes in a few different forms, but in each case, a blood test, often combined with an ultrasound, provides a…

    A few months back, I stumbled upon a book entitled Writing Our Lives, edited by Mary Ann Jansen of the Women Writing for a Change Foundation. This book contains selections from the first ever 2010 Writing Circle partnering with the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati. Each Wednesday over the next few weeks, I will…

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Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker writes about theology, disability, family, and culture. Two major life experiences have shaped her writing and her faith—caring for her mother-in-law as she battled cancer and welcoming her daughter Penny into the world after she was diagnosed at birth with Down syndrome. Both experiences expanded and enriched her understanding of what it means to be human and to receive each and every person as a gift.  A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is the author of Penelope Ayers: A Memoir, and the forthcoming A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House). Her essays have appeared in First Things, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Christian Century, ChristianityToday.com, and Bloom, among other online venues.

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