It's almost the end of October, which means it's almost the end of Down Syndrome Awareness Month (or if you're like my 11 year old daughter who's been waiting for three months, it's almost Halloween--a day I think is more about the "hype" for her than the actual day....but that's another post). Before my feeble brain cells take me completely off track I want to dedicate this post to the mom or dad out there who just found out that their unborn baby "may" have Down syndrome or Tisomy 21. Here are some facts:
*Prenatal tests are NOT always accurate. I've had friends who have gone through amnio's and they've come back negative, and then they gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome. I've had friends who have had blood tests showing elevated levels of proteins and the baby they give birth did NOT have Trisomy 21. There are NO guarantees in this life. There just aren't. Please get over this "I have a right to know all the variables so I can make a decision" (the emphasis being on the "I" as in "I" know what's right and wrong in this world). This post modern philosphy serves no purposes whatsover in the world of parenting a child with Down syndrome and the sooner you put that behind you, the better off you'll be.
*Doctors have MEDICAL degrees, they are NOT experts on how individual children develop and grow and they have NO business telling parents what their baby's future is going to be like. Doctors NOT immerse themselves in the special needs community where positive attitude and aptitude count for EVERYthing and most certainly are directly related to quality of life. Even in this day and age, in the year 2011, doctors in MAJOR hospitals (even here in Los Angeles) are telling parents of newly born babies with Down syndrome that there isn't much hope for their babies to learn their names, recognize their parents' faces, or have much of a life at all. DO NOT BELIEVE THESE LIARS. These are lies straight from the pits of hell, plain and simple.
(do I have your attention now?)
*This life with a child with Down syndrome is the BEST. That's a fact and I'll argue for it till the cows come home. Your heart will grow exponentially. Your baby (who will be a child before you know it) will DAILY teach you what it means to be strong and what it means to perservere. Does that mean that every child with DS has a "hard life" filled with physical and cognitive challenges? Not necessarily, but nearly every child with Down syndrome experiences challenges in at least one part of their lives; be it health, low muscle tone and coordination (not all kids with DS are "floppy" like Hayden was, but that extra chromosome does create an underlying "low muscle tone" issue, which pretty much every kiddo with DS that I know overcomes with time and patience), speech, or cognitive development. Despite all that, you will have the BEST and most pure love from your child with Down syndrome that you can even imagine. I'm pretty sure I can't describe this very well, but the love from your child will just knock you out. You don't deserve it, I don't deserve it, and yet that love they have for you is SO pure, SO unconditional. It's an honor to have them in your life.
*Last fact: this baby you're carrying who may have been identified as possibly having Down syndrome has a BRIGHT future!! They are fierce and strong!! When that sweet smile emerges at a few weeks old when you walk into a room it will strengthen you, embolden you, and it will hold you up when you need it no matter where your life takes you. Please give them a chance to bring the happiness and joy into your heart that I'm gifted to live with every single day.