Beverly Jacobson had other plans for her life. She dreamed of using her English education in schools to help teenagers and have a couple kids along the way. It didn’t include having nine children, much less one with Trisomy 18, but that’s precisely what happened. Little did she know she’d start Verity’s Village, a nationwide initiative to support Trisomy 18 parents and families.
She married her husband in 1997 and moved every few years while he was in the Air Force. She had her first three children in three years. With some heartbreaking miscarriages in between, they kept adding to their family until welcoming their eighth child, thinking it would be her last.
Soon after, she discovered she was pregnant for the ninth time. Her oldest was 16 and her youngest was 15 months old, but she was excited to enter her last pregnancy.
What she thought was a normal pregnancy soon took a turn. At 18 weeks pregnant, she got heartbreaking news: her child might be at risk for Edwards Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 18.
“I got a phone call that the blood test indicated a higher risk for Trisomy 18,” recalled Beverly. “The world stopped that day. When the diagnosis was later confirmed, I thought our baby would either pass in utero or be stillborn.”
The first month and a half after diagnosis, Beverly and her family braced themselves for their little girl’s passing. Beverly, like many other parents with a Trisomy 18 child, encountered medical professionals who made it clear that abortion was their preferred “solution” for this difficult situation. Beverly has always been pro-life, so there was no question she and her husband were keeping their baby. Having her children and suffering from miscarriages not only bolstered this belief but also gave her great compassion towards women who have miscarried and have had abortions.
Even after a doctor called their daughter “retarded” and said she would live a “futile life,” this in no way deterred their love for her. She stated, “God used those words to light the fire that I’m Verity’s advocate. It’s part of what drove me to set up Verity’s Village.”
In moments like this, they did something they’d never done before: they decided to reveal their daughter’s name before birth.
Beverly explained: “We picked out the name Verity, which means truth. We want to speak of the value of all human life. We picked her middle name, Irene, a family name that means peace.”
Verity’s parents also realized how important it was to advocate for their child. Through Verity’s Village, Beverly now helps many families who are pushed towards abortion and single moms who stand up for their child from the pressures of abortion from doctors, family, birth father, or other outside influences.
“Verity was my first child in the NICU,” said Beverly. “Since children with Trisomy 18 are not considered ‘compatible with life,’ they’re more disposed not to receive life-saving measures.” Her family truly advocated for her, making a birth plan for if she lived to provide life-saving measures, and if she was stillborn to make as many memories as possible.
Beverly carried Verity for 40 weeks and three days before delivering. Verity spent 18 days in the NICU with some oxygen support and a feeding tube. While they found three holes in her heart when she was born, no surgery was necessary when they noticed the heart starting to patch itself.
Verity will celebrate her seventh birthday on February 28. Though nonverbal and nonwalking, Verity is happy and loving life.
There are many pro-abortion activists, like Anne Hathaway, who believe abortion is a merciful decision for babies born with life-altering conditions like Trisomy 18 or Down syndrome (or even if they’re perfectly healthy). There are politicians, like President Joe Biden, who support abortion for this reason. His recent PR stunt proves that.
Still, as Beverly notes throughout their journey, Verity proves that she is compatible with life, and the definition of it should be challenged. Though not every baby with Trisomy will live, Beverly states some profound words:
“People have asked, ‘Don’t you want to prevent your child from suffering?’ But here’s what I say: Verity is not suffering more than anyone else. If a baby has a life-threatening issue, abortion only guarantees their death and leaves no other option for survival. They should have the chance to battle for their lives or pass peacefully. “
She goes on to discuss how abortion won’t eliminate grief:
“Termination will not eliminate that grief. All an abortion will do is take away any possibility of having memories and joy. What people don’t understand is joy and grief can exist together.
There are times I think back to when I was pregnant and overwhelmed with complicated emotions. My heart goes out to my past self. I wish I knew then how amazing our life is with Verity. I never could’ve fathomed how beautiful and precious the journey would be and how profoundly it changed us for the better.”
Bevery’s experience and other Trisomy 18 support groups led to the creation of Verity’s Village, which exists to support parents going through a Trisomy 18 diagnosis for their child.
“I want parents and people to know although it feels isolating, you’re not the only one,” said Beverly. “Verity’s Village is here for families who are walking through this. You don’t have to go on this journey alone.”
Places like Planned Parenthood will convince mothers, whether their child has a preexisting condition or not, that abortion is the only way. It’s not. Even in such a difficult circumstance, Beverly wouldn’t change a thing.
“Raising a child with profound needs is hard, but even if I could take Trisomy 18 away, I wouldn’t. It makes Verity who she is. We greatly appreciate life because we understand we’re on borrowed time.”
Abortion doesn’t just rob children of life, but also the joy and life perspective it can bring. Children challenge parents to be better versions of themselves, to sacrifice and to reflect on what makes life truly meaningful.
Life is not void of suffering, as Beverly mentions, but joy and grief can exist together, and the reward far outweighs the suffering.
LEARN MORE: Verity’s Village
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