Charlie Swinbourne has penned an article for BBC Ouch around his forthcoming fatherhood.
When we passed the magic three-month mark, we decided to tell everyone the news. It was then that I noticed something interesting. As happy as my hearing friends were for us, I kept being asked the same question in response - and it wasn't whether our forthcoming arrival was a boy or a girl.
"Do you think the baby will be deaf or hearing?"
The question didn't offend me, but I can honestly say that until then I had never thought about it. I'd just been thinking, simplistically perhaps, that we were going to have a baby, and preparing myself for all the responsibilities that come with looking after a newborn.
You can read the rest on Ouch. Deaf people's suspicion of medics and their agenda aside; at a random observation Charlie's comments around he could not care less whether the baby was deaf or hearing; perhaps offers some clues on the low take up of genetic counselling services by deaf people. Medicine might like pushing an agenda, but is it really an issue? If your baby is deaf or hearing, unless you're going for an abortion route on the grounds of deafness, can you actually do anything about it? What does knowing any earlier achieve? Does it actually alter planning for parenthood in any way?
Ask the Readers:
Do you think asking the deaf/hearing question is offensive? Does it say more about hearing people's ingrained attitudes, perhaps in a negative sense? Or, could it be treated in the same way as boy/girl differentiation? In other words, deaf/hearing is such a big thing? What about deaf/hearing testing in pregnancy, what would it achieve?