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Dear Dad Facing Your Daughter’s Down Syndrome Diagnosis, You’re So Screwed…

Dear Esteban,

Dude, relax. Take a deep breath. It’s OK to feel scared. Do you want to punch that wall again? Go ahead. Did it help? Now you’re still scared and your hand hurts. I know you feel like you have to get it out of your system, and that’s OK. Go. Lock yourself in the car, punch the steering wheel a couple of times and shout for a while. Yeah, that’s not helping either, but you have to do what you have to do. That’s OK.

DSC_6073 Back to real life. It’s time to deal with it. You have no idea what Down syndrome is. First piece of crucial info: It’s not a sickness. I know your doctor’s facial expression makes it look like this is the worst thing ever, but it’s not. Learn this word because it’s going to be part of your life now: different. Of course there may be some other medical issues to test for. Is she healthy? Great. Do you see how things worked out fine?

From here on out it’s all about dealing with it and accepting the difference. Most of the time all that’s needed is a little bit more patience. I know that patience is not one of your virtues, but guess what? That’s what the “deal with it” is for. Please don’t buy that “Welcome to Holland” book; it won’t make sense to you. Focus on what you have today. Look at her and realize there’s nothing wrong. I know you’re still scared, and that’s OK. I’m writing to you from almost four years in the future, and I’m still scared. The fear comes from not having much references that apply to you. But every day you will realize that the lack of references also makes everything more special with her. You will enjoy and celebrate her achievements.

Final piece of crucial information: You’re so screwed. But not in the way the doctor implied; that guy couldn’t have been more wrong.

You’re screwed because that baby girl will own you. You’ll be suffering every single second you’re away from her. You’ll find yourself begging her for a kiss, and nothing will make you happier than her laugh. You’re surely still scared, but man, you’re so loved.


The Mighty is asking its readers this question: If you could go back to the day you (or a loved one) got a diagnosis, what would you tell yourself? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please  include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.