A father has spoken of his love for his daughter who has Down syndrome, after he tried to persuade his wife to abort her.
Heath White, an FBI agent from Texas, was interviewed on ESPN last year and said his 5-year-old daughter Paisley is a “light in the darkness.”
White has gone public with his story in order to save other parents from aborting Down syndrome babies.
He says, “Nobody knew the way I felt before she was born, and if I can keep one family—one person—from having to live with the guilt and almost making the mistake that I almost made, it’s going to be worth the pain that Paisley will feel later in life knowing the way I felt.”
Back in 2006, White discovered his wife, Jennifer, was pregnant, and scans showed the baby had Down syndrome.
White says his main concern was what other people would think of him.
He says, “I did everything I could to try and force her into having an abortion.”
Jennifer White says she contemplated an abortion for about an hour because of her love for her husband. “He wasn’t ugly or rude or abusive or anything like that. He was just absent. He just wasn’t emotionally there at all,” she says.
But she says a little voice in her head said, concerning his encouragement for her to have an abortion, “No way. It’s not happening.”
Jennifer White gave birth to Paisley on March 16, 2007, and says she felt like she had “lost a baby.”
After she started feeding, though, she described Paisley as “good—she’s perfect.”
Heath White, on the other hand, took another few months to realize Paisley was just like any other kid.
He says, “The turning point—I had her down, and I tickled her, and she laughed and giggled at me and tried to push me away.”
Before Paisley was born, White ran competitively, and he realized he could continue this together with his daughter. He ran while pushing Paisley in a special stroller, taking part in nine marathons and several 5K and 10K races.
He says, “Everything I’ve done, everything I’ve tried to accomplish, it was never going to be perfect, but my love for Paisley is perfect.”