Entertainment And News

Mom Of Two Says She Wishes She’d Never Given Birth To Younger Son Who She Has Raised For 47 Years

Photo: Tatiana Diuvbanova | Shutterstock
mother holding baby with down syndrome

Becoming a parent is never easy, but for one mother, the decision to keep her youngest son continues to haunt her.

Gillian Relf, a 69-year-old mother from Kent, England, told Daily Mail in 2014 that she has dedicated more than 40 years of her life to looking after her son, who requires constant care and attention.

The mom, Gillian Reif, wishes she'd had an abortion instead of raising her son.

Relf explains that she married her childhood sweetheart, Roy, when she was 19 and he was 20, and became a mother for the first time at the age of 20 after welcoming her first son, Andrew.

"I sailed through my first pregnancy with Andrew. A year later, and both of us were really looking forward to a second baby to complete our family," Relf told Daily Mail.

RELATED: Mom Asks If Making Her Son Eat Off Dirty Dishes After He Refused To Clean Them Was Too Harsh A Punishment

However, a few months into her pregnancy, Relf could feel that something was wrong with her baby, despite the doctors and midwives insisting that she was "being hysterical," and they "refused to perform an amniocentesis (where cells are taken from the amniotic fluid and tested)."

Eventually, Relf's second son, Stephen, was welcomed into the world on a Sunday in January 1967, but the following Wednesday, when she looked into his cot, the now mother-of-two, noticed something was wrong.

"I looked at him in his cot: his small, almond-shaped eyes, broad, flat nose, and the one crease on the palms of his hands," Relf explained. “'He’s a Mongol, isn’t he?' I gasped to my mother. It sounds shocking now, but that was how we described people with Down’s Syndrome in those days.”

Relf's mother reassured her that Stephen was not, along with the doctors and health visitors, who didn't mention anything about her son possibly having Down Syndrome.

It wasn't until the following summer when Stephen became ill and Relf took him to the hospital that a pediatrician diagnosed him with Down Syndrome. 

RELATED: Woman Shares Video Of Father Slapping Son In Public & Says Police Did Nothing

"Questions I couldn’t answer raced through my mind: Had I caused his disability? How terrible would his life be? What impact would it have on his brother Andrew, then only two? How on earth would Roy and I cope?" she said, adding, "that's when normal life ended for Roy, Andrew, and me."

Relf explained how she and her family were burdened with many struggles after Stephen's birth and wished that she had an abortion, "I wish it every day."

"In his early years, it caused me physical pain seeing friends’ toddlers reaching milestones when my son was still so baby-like. Stephen didn’t walk until he was five and couldn’t speak – even now, he has only a few words and communicates using Makaton, a sign language. This made working out his needs a constant struggle," she revealed.

She added that she was consumed with guilt knowing that she wasn't strong enough, physically or mentally, to care for her son every day for the rest of his life. 

Taking care of Stephen also took a massive toll on Relf's marriage, and was later "told by a professor studying the parents of children with disabilities that it is very rare for marriages to survive."

Relf eventually moved Stephen to a residential hospital on the advice of their doctor.

"I honestly felt nothing but relief that the problem had been resolved," she said of her decision.

"That is why I want to speak in support of the [92%] of women who choose to abort their babies after discovering they have Down's Syndrome," she explained.

RELATED: Woman Wonders If She's Wrong For Refusing To Care For Disabled Mother After She Bought Her Sister A Tesla

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!