The Washington Post

Despite genetic tests and new technology, learning to embrace the unexpected

23andMe kit (Rubenstein Communications, Inc.)

One note came from a company that has created a new personally-administered genetic test intended for women planning to get pregnant. Called 23andMe, it’s an at-home kit that tests the likelihood of passing on certain genetic disorders.

Physicians use this kind of testing in a limited way, usually when there’s reason to suspect an issue.

23andMe is part of a tidal wave of biotechnology allowing us to learn more about our health prospects and the prospects of our children. Though some of the technology raises ethical questions, most of the advancements are just that — advancements.

“Knowing this information before you are pregnant, we believe, will make you better prepared when you are pregnant,” 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki wrote.

(Harper Collins)

Case in point was the second note I received about a new book called “Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected.”

The book by Kelle Hampton is a memoir and will be released this month by William Morrow.

During her pregnancy, Hampton underwent prenatal tests, which showed no signs for concern. So she was wholly unprepared when she saw her baby for the first time.

“I knew the minute I saw her that she had Down syndrome and nobody else knew it. I held her and cried. Cried and panned the room to meet eyes with anyone who would tell me she didn’t have it. I held her and looked at her like she wasn’t my baby and tried to take it in. All I can remember of these moments is her face. I will never forget my daughter in my arms, opening her eyes over and over … she locked eyes with mine and stared … bore holes into my soul.

Love me. Love me. I’m not what you expected, but oh, please love me.”

--From “Bloom” by Kelle Hampton

After I read that passage a few times, my eyes too wet to read it straight through once, I e-mailed Hampton through her publicist. I asked her what she hoped readers would take away from her book.

“Letting go of the expected isn’t a bad thing,” she wrote back.

“In doing so, we come closer to the realization that the greatest rewards in parenthood are felt when we accept our children just as they are…The bonus is that these lessons extend beyond parenthood.

“I’ve found in the last two years, through learning to let go of the expected and truly appreciate both of my children’s unique beauty and character, I am more embracing of others’ differences. I am more tolerant of challenges or times when events in my life don’t go as planned. And I am more appreciative of the things I value most — health, nature and time with family.”

What has surprised you most about your child? How has it affected your outlook?

Related Content:

Rick Santorum on prenatal tests: Can the future of pregnancy health care be stopped?

Understanding a Down syndrome diagnosis


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
It's in the details: Five ways to enhance your kitchen makeover
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
Border collies: A 'mouse trap' for geese on the National Mall
Play Videos
Bao: The signature dish of San Francisco
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
What you need to know about Planned Parenthood
Play Videos
How to save and spend money at college
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Europe's migrant crisis, explained