I have a good friend who has a child with Down Syndrome. I will admit, I don’t know very much about this condition.
In honor of her, other mothers, and of Down Syndrome Awareness and Acceptance Month, I would like to share her story with you.
From Trudy Callan:
October is Down Syndrome Awareness and Acceptance Month. So I thought I would share with you a bit about our daughter and Down Syndrome. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Down Syndrome is a 3rd copy of the 21st Chromosome and is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition.
Approximately 1 in every 700 babies in the U.S. are born with Down Syndrome, or around 6,000 births per year. It is not a disease.
There is nothing that can be done to prevent it. It is a totally random occurrence. And occurs with both young and older mothers.
It means she works a lot harder for the things her heart desires. It means she is a little delayed at things that come easy for others. Children with Down Syndrome go through the same stages of development as typical children do. It just takes them longer to achieve milestones because of low muscle tone.
Speech is more difficult for an individual with Down Syndrome as well because of the low muscle tone. They are determined and learn perseverance. People with Down Syndrome are not disabled. They are differently-abled.
Many with Down Syndrome have gone on to accomplish great things.
They are Zumba Instructors, athletes, actors, artists, musicians, dancers, photographers, fashion designers, teachers in a preschool music program, working in the food industry and coffee shops. One young woman I know with Down Syndrome works at Facebook. And I could go on.
Siblings of kids with Down Syndrome are not affected negatively, on the contrary, most siblings report that their relationship is one of the greatest gifts in their lives.
Because of her our children will be more compassionate and have an understanding about differences.
Our children adore their little sister and love spending time with her cuddling, playing, looking at books, singing songs, etc. She makes our home a happy place! She doesn’t judge, hold anger, put people down, have bias and couldn’t hurt a fly.
She just needs love and loves in return like no other!!! Samantha is the best hugger! She is a wonderful sister to her five siblings, and she loves her puppy, going to the playground, swimming pool, dancing and loves music and has memorized entire songs. And Daddy is her favorite person in the world.
The only real challenge we have faced was in the beginning within our own minds, the fear of not knowing what the future looked like,
Would she be okay? Would she be healthy? We did not know anything about Down Syndrome. We did not know what a precious treasure that had been given to us. But we soon found out there was nothing to fear.
We were told in the beginning by our sweet friends not to dwell on her diagnosis, but to keep in mind that she was first and foremost our baby and to just enjoy her being a baby. Hold her. Sing to her and cherish each moment just like we had with all of our other babies. And that’s what did and are still doing. We enjoy and cherish each moment.
She is no different than our other children.
Samantha plays with the same toys they did when they were her age. She has a sense of humor and laughs at our jokes. And she has a silly personality.
Each of our children are unique and have their own special talents, abilities and interests, and we encourage and support each of them in those things and come alongside them to help them to bloom and grow into all that they can be.
We will help her discover her gifts and talents by exposing her to many things and letting her try them out and will support her and help her to learn and grow in those areas as well as any of her areas of interest.
Each child will have challenges they face growing up that we as parents help them through. So it is not a burden to help her to work through challenges she faces or will face. She’s one of our children; so it is our pleasure.
Because she is on a different time-table and does have to work a little harder and take a little more time, we celebrate each milestone that much more! We are all right there cheering her on. It is thrilling to see her succeed.
Are there days I worry about her future? Days that I want to hug and hold onto her and protect her from the world?
Absolutely…but here is what I know…that is my job as a mom. Not just her mom, but it was and is my job as my other children’s mom as well. Moms worry. That’s what we do. Special needs or not.
What I have learned is we all need to put the next 24 hours in front of us and focus on those 24 hours being the most wonderful and amazing hours possible. Be present in the here and now.
In our eyes she is perfect in every way, and if we all closed our eyes to any form of disability and looked deep within, we would all realize we are all the same. We all want the same things. We all have hopes and dreams, and we all have feelings.
Instantly with their arrival they change our world; so if others give them a chance, they will change theirs too! They put a light in this dark world.
She adds value the same way all children add value to the world!
She is our sunshine! And is so much fun to be around! She has a wonderful personality. And she is adored by us, her siblings and all of our friends and many who have never met her in person. She is inspiring and teaches us every day.
If someone you know has just given birth to a baby with Down Syndrome, just simply say Congratulations on your beautiful baby. Do not say, I’m sorry or anything along those lines. Celebrate this precious life with them.
Thank you for taking time to read this.