Mother of Two Said She Wishes Her Younger Son Would Not Have Been Born

Gillian Relf, a 69-year-old mother from Kent, England, told Daily Mail that after dedicating more than forty years of her life to looking after her son, who needs constant care and attention, she thinks it would’ve been better had he never been born.

Gillian, who married her childhood sweetheart Roy when she was just nineteen years old, became a first-time mother at the age of twenty when her son Andrew was born.

Gillian Relf, a 69-year-old mother from Kent, England, told Daily Mail that after dedicating more than forty years of her life to looking after her son, who needs constant care and attention, she thinks it would’ve been better had he never been born.

Gillian, who married her childhood sweetheart Roy when she was just nineteen years old, became a first-time mother at the age of twenty when her son Andrew was born.

 

Gillian and Relf were living their dream life with their son Andrew when they decided to welcome another child and complete their family. So, she conceived for the second time.

However, a few months later, she felt something was wrong with the baby and the pregnancy. But the doctors and midwives assured her that everything was fine and she was being paranoid.

“There were no antenatal scans or blood tests to detect abnormalities in those days, and although I had a sixth sense, call it mother’s intuition, that there was something wrong with my baby, the doctors and midwives insisted I was being hysterical and refused to perform an amniocentesis.” She wrote.

And finally, her second baby Stephen was born in January 1967.

“The following Wednesday, 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.”

“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.”

“She told me she was sure he wasn’t, and it seemed everyone else was blind to what I saw so clearly. None of the doctors or health visitors even mentioned it, so for seven months, I blundered, trying to convince myself that my baby was ‘normal’”.

The following summer, her son Stephen became ill, and Gillian took him to the hospital. And after examining him, a pediatrician referred to him as a ‘Mongol baby.’

“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?

That was the day normal life ended for Roy, Andrew, and me.”

Gillian explained how she and her family went through many struggles after Stephen’s birth.

“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.

His incontinence meant that washing his clothes and bedding became my full-time job.” She said.

“So, exhausted and racked with guilt, I was close to the end of my tether when he became unwell shortly after Stephen’s third birthday and cried incessantly for three days and nights.”

“Worse still, he could give me no indication of what was wrong with him.” She continued. “My husband was working late shifts as a driver at the time, and by the third night, I couldn’t stand the noise any longer.”

“In a rage, I picked Stephen up, intending to throw him down our flight of stairs. Thankfully, by the time I reached the top step, I thought, ‘What on earth am I doing?’ and put him back into his cot.

“A couple of days later, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital suffering a nervous breakdown. I was prescribed tranquilizers and then treated as a day patient for several months afterward.”

She said her marriage suffered as they were always worried and distressed because of their disabled son.

“One day, Stephen’s doctor sat us down and told us that Stephen needed an operation to remove his spleen. He said he would ‘go to sleep and never wake up without it. Those were his exact words.”

“Looking back, I believe the doctor was guiding us towards allowing our son to pass away naturally, but we didn’t understand then what he was trying to do for us.”

“I wish we had – it would have spared us all a great deal of pain. Instead, he had the operation and spent five weeks at the hospital recovering, with me at his bedside as often as possible.”

She said now Stephen lives in sheltered accommodation in Kent with 24/7 care and support.

“When we go to pick him up at the weekends, we have no idea what will happen. Sometimes he refuses to come with us; sometimes, he insists on being taken back to the home as soon as he’s had a biscuit and a drink of water or, if we’re lucky, he will be happy to stay.”

The mother of two stated that had Stephen not been born, she would have gone to have another child, and her family wouldn’t have suffered through all these years.

“I know this will shock many: this is my son, whom I’ve loved, nurtured, and defended for nearly half a century, but if I could go back in time, I would ab*rt him in an instant.”

Don’t take me wrong, but I know he would outlive us, and his brother and I become seriously upset whenever I think about his future without anyone to take care of him.” The mother concluded.

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Sources:

Daily Mail

Images & Featured Images Credits: David Crump / Daily Mail

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