Imagine the moment you learn your baby will be born with special needs, and will face so much more adversity than the average child. For many people, this discovery can be soul-crushing, but you come to accept the fact, and go into the birth with an open mind and heart. For some parents, however, it’s no so easy — and you’re about to meet a family who has gone through the latter.
For ESPN special “E:60,” Heath White and his wife Jennifer tell the story of their baby girl’s birth, and how it changed their lives in more ways they could ever imagine.
In a letter Heath wrote to his daughter Paisley, he described how he felt when she was born with Down syndrome — and it’s pretty shocking.
“I did everything I could to try and force (my wife) into having an abortion,” Heath says. “My main concern was what people would think about me.”
Jennifer says that Heath was emotionally absent and completely at odds with Heath’s concerns and beliefs. She didn’t go through with an abortion, and Heath didn’t connect with Paisley for months after she was born.
“The turning point — I had her down and I tickled her and she laughed and giggled at me and tried to push me away. Her laughing and smiling and reacting with me, that’s when I realized she’s just like any other kid — she’s my kid,” he said. From that moment on, everything changed for Heath. He finally accepted Paisley, got back into his passion — running — and now loves to proudly push Paisley along with him in races and marathons.
Heath says he wrote the letter to Paisley to repent for how he initially felt about her birth and her as a human being. Now, he says, she means everything to him.
“Everything I’ve done, everything I’ve tried to accomplish, it was never going to be perfect,” he said. “But my love for Paisley is perfect. I’m always going to be there to make sure she gets to the finish line.”
What do you think about Heath’s story?
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