NFL player Torrey Smith opened up about his wife’s pregnancy complications
When it comes to pregnancy, we have no trouble talking endlessly about baby names, which foods to eat, and what we’re including in our birth plans. One thing we rarely discuss are the possible risks and complications that come along with bringing a new life into the world. That’s why San Francisco 49ers player Torrey Smith decided to open up about a recent health scare regarding his unborn baby.
In a post on his blog, Smith says his wife, Chanel, went to the doctor for what she thought was a routine check-up last week. Chanel is pregnant with the couple’s second son, Kameron, and so far her pregnancy has been totally normal. That changed when the doctor called following her appointment to let the Smiths know something might be wrong. Writes Smith:
“I wasn’t really worried until I saw her facial expression and body language change. So I walked over to hear what she was talking about and I heard ‘1 in 25 chance of Trisomy.’ I just assumed she was talking about Down Syndrome and my response was, ‘Ok, cool.’ I was wrong. She was talking about Trisomy 18. I wasn’t familiar with it, so I began to Google it while she was explaining what it was all about. My heart dropped and my wife was in tears.”
Trisomy 18, also known as Edward’s Syndrome, is a condition that can cause severe developmental delays and is usually fatal before or soon after a baby is born. In a follow up appointment, Smith hoped to hear his baby was in the clear, but instead the baby’s odds of being born with Trisomy 18 were increased to one in ten. The doctor also discovered other abnormalities that required further testing. Suddenly, Smith and his wife were in the scary situation of having to discuss possible negative outcomes.
“Suddenly we were able to talk about what we would do with this situation knowing that her life, as well as the baby’s, could be at risk. It was easily the hardest conversation I’ve ever been a part of.What do you do? Do you go forward knowing the outcome will be a miscarriage or death shortly after birth all while putting your life in danger? Or do you terminate the pregnancy?… Being in this situation has changed the way I view everything about it.”
In the end, the test results showed Smith’s son does not have Trisomy 18, though he could still have other issues. The couple are waiting to find out more, but in the meantime Smith says they’re just “excited to know our child has a shot at life” and “nothing else matters.”
While some may think it odd to share such intimate details, Smith says he felt he had a responsibility to be honest because so many other people go through the same thing.
There’s a stigma attached to talking about the difficult or scary parts of pregnancy. It’s the reason people so rarely discuss diagnoses like Trisomy 18 or share other complications or issues they may be facing. We tend to think people will blame us for whatever is going on or not be able to relate to what we’re going through. In reality, the hardest times are when we should be opening up and leaning on each other the most.
When people like Torrey Smith speak openly about their fears and frustrations, it helps eliminate the taboo for other people as well. It creates a world where we can support each other, rather than hiding from one another, and it draws attention to issues that some people probably never even knew existed. What happens during pregnancy is intimate and private, but it also involves a lot of feelings and fears that are completely universal. There’s no reason anyone should ever feel like they have to cope with it all alone.