I read the book Just Like Other Daughters once and cried. I read it the second time and realized that it went against everything I had learned through working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. I read it again to prepare for writing this review. Now I don’t know what I think.
Chloe was in her mid 20’s and attended a day program for people with disabilities. She called it her “college.” One day when her mother took her, it was on a day she didn’t normally go. She protested until she met Thomas.
Thomas was a few years older and probably not as high-functioning in Chloe in some ways, even though he could read and write a little. Chloe and Thomas quickly figured out things like locking themselves in a bathroom to make When Chloe’s mom Ally found out, she went directly to Google things like “sex and Down syndrome,” getting more and more overwhelmed at the possibilities she never really considered.
Since Thomas’ parents were Christians, they believed the couple should be married so that they could have sex and be together. Ally resisted as long as she could, but finally agreed. The young couple moved in with her.
The beginning of the marriage was full of battles over what movies to watch and where Thomas was allowed to keep his things. Thomas kept wanting to spend nights at his house, but Chloe preferred to stay at her own home. The only thing they seemed to be okay with was sex.
Somehow, even though mom was monitoring birth control pills, Chloe got pregnant.Ally was frightened that she would have to take care of all thre of them, but refused to have the pregnancy terminated because of her own abortion years ago. The tension in the house reached a climax that settled the marriage, but the way the pregnancy ended was something I didn’t expect.
I asked myself how can a person take control of their sexuality when they don’t fully comprehend birth control and parenting. I wish I knew the answer, but better people than I have not been able to figure it out. If Ally was Chloe’s guardian, couldn’t she have taken control and gotten Chloe Depo-Provera shots to protect her? What would have been the answer? Not allowing them to marry and risk their having unprotected sex?
Read the book if you can find it, and get back to me on this one, please. I still don’t know how or what to think.