Dear New Momma,
When I heard of your worry over the diagnosis your upcoming baby has received; that they may have Down syndrome and that you are scared, I had a lot of things to say about the history of people with disabilities and the injustices they have endured throughout time. This morning when I woke up thinking about you again and your worries, I realized this was not the time to try to educate you on the world of disability. I say this as a person who has known and loved people with disabilities my entire life, family members, people in school, people in my jobs and fortunately now my sweet girl. The time will come when you are seeking that history on behalf of the child you know and love in order to be a strong advocate for him. But for now- now is not the time for you to gear up for that. You will know when that time comes. You have already advocated for your baby in the best way you can- by choosing to have him. It is a brave choice. You are having a sweet baby- a baby you will be a better person for having and knowing. Stand with us and let us guide you. Get to know us and the real stories of the real children who have Down syndrome that we raise every day of our lives- do not let others you don’t know fill your head with stereotypes that are born out of their sorrow, their guilt or their ignorance. Those of us in this forum, we have made the choice that you are making. Whether we had a pre-natal diagnosis or not- we’ve chosen to mother our children. No one can tell you what your child will be capable of- but I promise you- your child will know you, will love you, will want to please you, will achieve milestones. He will bring you great joy and you will be continually amazed by the tiniest and grandest things he does. You will get more out of your child by ten-fold then what you put in to him. Maybe a year from now, you will want to know the history, the culture, the great people and forces that have brought the world of disability into a strong place in our world- a place where we have the right to expect equal rights for every human being- regardless of ability. We will be here to help you with that when the time comes. The people who will stand with you and your child- they are strong and good and kind and intelligent and ready when you need them.
For now, you have a sweet baby in you who already loves you enough to make his way here. Turn your back on those naysayers. They are going to do nothing but needlessly upset you- and I promise you their information is not born out of fact and reality- it is born out of fear and a need to justify choices they made—it has nothing to do with you and your baby. They do not know what your child will be capable of. Any child presents struggles, challenges and more blessings then you deserve.
EVERY CHILD deserves someone who believes in them, and for your baby- that’s you Momma. It’s your calling- embrace it. Soon you’ll embrace him. The Down syndrome will not be his biggest struggle, other people’s ignorance will be.
PS: This letter was written for a very specific someone who was struggling with other’s scare-tactics around her decision to continue her pregnancy after having received a diagnosis that her baby has Down syndrome. If you find yourself in that same situation- know that this letter is for you as well. You can also go here and here for more support, love and information. We’re here for you too.
Today is World Down syndrome Awareness Day. 3/21; as in 3 copies of that 21st Chromosome. Today is a day we celebrate our beloveds and shout about it from rooftops. If you or someone you love has Down syndrome- well; you are just blessed. Blessed like our sweet family.