Last semester, I was assigned to read a book for my Family Resources class. At first, I was stressing this task because reading a three-hundred page book did not seem too thrilling to me. I chose to read the non-fiction novel, Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic by Martha Beck. I began to read this book at the beginning of last November and was finished within three days. This novel came to my attention because it was on the list of possible books that we could read for class. I began thinking this novel was going to be frustrating and meaningless, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. I found the book at the Towson library and began to read it the same day.
This true story involves Martha and her husband, John and the bizarre events leading up to the birth of their child, Adam. Martha and John are married with a young daughter, Katie, and both are attending Harvard trying to receive their PhDs. With the hectic schedule of taking classes at Harvard and raising a toddler, another baby is the last thing Martha and John want to get themselves into. While pregnant with Adam, Martha begins having dreams and premonitions, which all seem to surprisingly come true. John also experiences these occurrences. Martha and John learn that their child is going to have Down syndrome, and everyone expects them to have an abortion because he will not be as “intelligent” as a normal baby.
Adam ends up being a very happy child. Although he lacks certain aspects of intelligence and is late in his physical and cognitive development, Adam looks at life in a way most people could not. He teaches John and Martha more lessons than they have ever learned from going to Harvard. This book taught me that people with special needs or setbacks should not be stereotyped and discriminated against because these people may lack what society believes is “intelligence,” but can have special attributes and an understanding of life that a normal person would never have. I believe that this novel has had such an impact on me because throughout my life, I have never experienced quality time with a child having Down syndrome.
It is crazy that just because a child has one extra chromosome that he or she can have such a different approach to life. In a way, I am jealous of those people with Down Syndrome because as normal people, we are consumed and overwhelmed with the big things in life, but these “slower” people are able to find happiness in all of the little things. Reading this novel changed the way I look at people with special needs and realize they are just the same as us, they just do things a little different. This book has increased my want to read articles and other books that include stories of gifted children. These children may have “special needs,” but to me it seems more like “special powers”.