When Parents Hope for Their Children to be Cured, Are We Really Wishing That They “Cease to Be”?

Messages about Andrew Solomon’s new book, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity have been coming steadily into my inbox over the past few days. The author interviewed hundreds of families in which a child has some identifiable difference—autism, Down syndrome, violent criminal tendencies, being the child of rape. His resulting [Read More...]

The Slippery Nature of Suffering: How Do We Decide What Makes Suffering Unbearable?

In Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver, young Jonas knows nothing—absolutely nothing—about pain and suffering until after his twelfth birthday. Jonas’s community (which exists in a post-apocalyptic future) is safe and efficient. Not only do the community’s residents not experience pain and suffering due to warfare, illness or disability, unemployment, family discord, or any other cause, [Read More...]

What Shane Claiborne (& Mother Teresa!) Got Wrong: On Being the Body of Christ with Imperfect Bodies


Last spring, I heard a terrific talk from Shane Claiborne at the Festival of Faith & Writing. Claiborne, a prominent voice in progressive Christian circles, lives in Philadelphia’s inner city, where he and the other inhabitants of the Simple Way community practice a “new monasticism.” They value hospitality and communal living, seek to build relationships [Read More...]

An Untold Story About Prescription Painkillers (Mine)


I take prescription painkillers every day, but I am not an addict. According to the Centers for Disease Control, we are in the midst of a “growing, deadly epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse,” marked by rising abuse rates along with rising rates of overdose and deaths by overdose. The CDC and others blame this epidemic [Read More...]

The Life and Death of My Tattoo: Postscript

People keep talking about my tattoo. Everyone has a different take on the story of how I considered getting a tattoo (for very concrete reasons having to do with my disability), went as far as choosing artwork, and then decided not to get a tattoo when my 8-year-old strenuously objected. (Here is the story for [Read More...]

We Pushed Our Luck, and Got This Guy: Deciding to Have the Third Baby


(Editorial Note: I’m including an excerpt from my book below, so this is more an online article than a blog post, much longer than my usual. If you have the time and inclination to read it, thanks! I’ll be back tomorrow with my usual shorter blog post.) Last week, the New York Times’ “Motherlode” parenting [Read More...]

Valuing Life, Preventing Suffering: A Central Tension in Genetic Screening for Disability

I’m attending and speaking at the 3rd annual Summer Institute on Theology and Disability, held this year at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. This afternoon, I will read from my book, No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction, and host a conversation on the promises [Read More...]

A Conversation About Reproductive Decisions and Faith

I was privileged to have a wonderful conversation several weeks ago with Martha Manikas-Foster, who hosts a show called Inside Out for Family Life Radio. Martha and I have talked and corresponded over the past couple of years about several topics, most recently my book No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith [Read More...]