Sunday, March 27, 2011

Will My Child Have Poland Syndrome?

What's the number one question people ask when you tell them you are going to have a baby? "Is it a boy or a girl?"

When Jen and I started telling people we were going to have a baby boy, I occasionally heard another question. "Is the baby healthy?"

I started to think about all of the traits that I could possibly pass to my son. Some would be good, and some would be bad. I naturally thought of physical traits first, which led me to wonder... "Could I pass my Poland Syndrome to him? Would he be healthy?"

What does the word "healthy" really mean, anyway? Does it mean that if the baby is healthy, then they won't have to grow up with unnecessary difficulties? And what difficulties might they be? Physical difficulties? Mental difficulties? Emotional difficulties? What about situational or social difficulties?

The reality is that everyone has difficulties in life. Everyone has flaws. Paul said, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Rom.3). No one is perfect, and everyone is unhealthy in one way or another.

The Bible says that all children are a blessing! If a baby is born "healthy," then that child is a blessing! If a baby is born with Poland Syndrome, then that child is a blessing! If a baby is born with Down Syndrome, then that child is a blessing! If a baby is born with Tay-Sachs disease and will not likely live long, then that child is still a blessing!

We named our son Nolan, and he ended up being born large for gestational age (LGA). This condition affects about 8% of all births, and it basically means he was a big baby compared to most. It hasn't really been a problem for him (other than having a difficult birth), although some LGA babies have problems regulating their blood sugar, some have jaundice, and some have respiratory distress. We will certainly find many flaws in our son as he grows up. The biggest flaw being sin, of course.

God still works through people, no matter what difficulties they have in their lives. No matter what sin. God takes the crap in our lives and uses it for good. In Romans, Paul continues in the next verse by writing, "and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ." He redeems us and can use our imperfect bodies for wonderful things.

Many people with Poland Syndrome worry about passing it on to their children, but since it is a congenital birth defect that is not a genetic disorder, then it scientifically cannot happen. The only way to get the deformity would be by random chance. Nolan does not have Poland Syndrome, and the likelihood of us both having it would be something like 1-in-a-trillion.

Even if our son did have Poland Syndrome, Jen and I wouldn't be worried. What we all really need to be concerned about are the sin problems in our lives. God loves us no matter what our size or shape is, but sin is what He hates. Sin is the only flaw we have that God wants us to change.


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