It’s been a heavy few weeks on “Switched at Birth” ever since Lily (Rachel Shenton) dropped two big reveals: That she was pregnant with child who has Down syndrome, and that Toby (Lucas Grabeel) is the father.
With Lily fresh out of college and Toby still trying to figure out what to do with his life — and pay the bills while doing it — a tough debate began about whether or not they should keep the baby. Members of the family weighed in on both sides, but after Toby visited a school for Down syndrome children and was able to meet them face-to-face, the decision to keep the child became clear.
“I thought it would be a great way to put a Down syndrome person on-screen and put him face-to-face with his future,” executive producer Lizzy Weiss explains to Zap2it about the scene. “I’ve had everyone read this book called ‘Far from the Tree’ by Andrew Solomon which is about kids who are very different from their parents … A lot of the parents talk about a moment like that, when they were pregnant encountering a Down syndrome individual and feeling some sort of transcendence. They suddenly knew.”
The decision to keep the baby will have repercussions throughout the rest of the season and beyond, but first Lily and Toby will deal with the anxieties of preparing for the child.
“The reality of the fears and stresses and insecurities that I am sure rise when you are carrying a baby that’s different from you — we keep that present and keep the reality of how Toby and Lily as the baby is growing inside of her feel about it,” Weiss says.
The storyline will not dominate the entire season, but will make its return at appropriate moments as things come up with the pregnancy.
“It’s really going to be Toby and Lily coming to terms with the changes that are coming in their life,” Weiss says. “There was a danger of this taking over the season and having every episode be about it. We play with it for a while and our characters have other things going on. There’s a big episode with Toby and Lily dealing with that and there’s another episode with a baby shower coming up later.”
While Toby and Lily’s pregnancy may have sparked debate on and off the show, Weiss is hoping that it’s a universal story for all parents to relate to, and that there’s something for everyone to take away from these young people’s experience.
“I hope it’s a universal story for everyone regardless of what kind of kid you have,” she says. “We are true to that and we have a really beautiful story coming up about that later in the season.”