Pregnant with her first child, it was supposed to be one of the happiest times of R&B singer/songwriter Vivian Green’s life. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out that way. In her second trimester of pregnancy, doctors told her that the baby she was carrying had a severe undiagnosable illness that would leave it seriously disabled, and if she had the baby it was likely to die within one week.
“It was horrible,” Vivian says of hearing the news. “Stuff like he had no fingers or toes, his entire cardiovascular system was undeveloped; things that you never want to hear as a mother.”
Indeed. As a mom, it’s hard to imagine being told such horrific news. But it also begs the question, why didn’t she abort since it’s legal in cases where doctors can predict these types of issues?
In fact, there was a couple in Australia that aborted a pregnancy at 28 weeks when they discovered their baby would have a deformed left hand–though most would consider that an extreme reaction. Sometimes, the pressure comes from doctors who discourage parents from bringing kids into the world when they know ahead of time the massive challenges the future holds.
For Vivian, it was simple. “By the time I got the diagnosis I was in my second trimester and he was already moving. So I knew I couldn’t do it.”
Constant prayer and strong family support got Vivian through the pregnancy.
What happened next was a miracle.
“Once my son was born it was nothing like what the doctors said,” says Vivian. “He does have some issues. Like he has no opposition in his thumbs, he was born very small, his skull was flat–it’s gotten a lot better–and he sometimes has some random things that don’t necessarily go together, but still, it’s not what they said.”
Clearly, the fact that he is going on 12-years-old when they only predicted he’d live a week is a testament to something Vician learned from her mom, “doctors are not always right.”
It was this knowing that she would rely on again when pressure mounted to get him plastic surgery. “One doctor really wanted to start plastic surgery and I felt that he was too young. Let’s watch to see how things develop.” Once she received a second opinion from another doctor who agreed, she felt convinced that her motherly instinct was right once again, and let her son be.
Today, Jordan does everything for himself, even if it takes him a little longer. She says her parenting style is often compared to the mom of singer Ray Charles: “After I see you can do it one time I’m not going to help you again because I know you can do it.”
Vivian has been homeschooling Jordan since kindergarten, but plans to transition him to a regular school now that he’s in the 6th grade. A few years ago, she had him tested to make sure he was mentally up to par. While his mental process is a little different, he’s fine. “Jordan’s doctors are some of the best in the country and they are amazed at his progress,” Vivian says.
And while things may not be nearly as dire as the doctors predicted, Vivian’s life is far from a walk in the park. Has she ever regretted her decision to have her son?
“Not at all,” she explains, “He’s very much a loved child wherever he goes. He’s touched so many people in the past 11 years. It’s really amazing.”
Given how things worked out for Vivian, one might think that she would discourage moms-to-be from listening to doctors, but not so.
“I always urge mothers to do what’s best for them because many children are born with horrible diseases and doctors sometimes are right about what they see. So I don’t want to give any false hope that every case is going to be like mine. I just happen to know that doctors aren’t always right.”
Vivian also urges mothers to do their own research and trust their instincts.
It’s interesting because now when we see a kid with a disability we can assume it’s because a parent chose to bring him into the world knowing that it wasn’t going to be easy. That’s love.
Vivian Green’s fifth studio album, VIVID, is out now, and be on the lookout for her ‘I am different; I am human’ PSA’s for the special needs community.
This article first appeared on Madamenoire on 1/13/15