The 6 Words That Terrified Me in the Delivery Room Don’t Scare Me Anymore

Dear Me from 2008,

You found out you’re having a boy, huh? Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Well, there’s an even bigger surprise waiting for you on May 5, 2009. You have his name all picked out and you even got crafty and bought big letters, painted them and hung them in his room. “OWEN” it says above his changing table.

You’ve said to yourself and others, “I don’t know what to do with a boy! I’ve only had sisters.” You keep thinking baseball and dirt and climbing trees and scrapped knees. You know, stuff boys do.

But in that delivery room you’re going to be told six words that are going to change your life: “We think he has Down syndrome.” You’re going to be upset, worried and afraid. And that’s OK. You’re going to need to feel those things. 

But you know what? You’re also going to find yourself; you’re going to change in so many ways. You’re going to learn that Down syndrome isn’t so scary  It’s going to be challenging, absolutely. But what is life without a few challenges, right? And sometimes it might seem like you’re in a dark tunnel where there is no light at the end. But the light will show up, sometimes out of nowhere.

There’s going to be a whole new community and family that you will embrace, and you will be so excited in a few years when you meet a bunch of these mamas at a convention.  

Something else you’re going to find out? Owen — he’s just a boy. He’s going to love baseball, just like you thought. He’s going to get super dirty and run from you when you try to clean him up, just like you thought. He is going to climb everything and maybe someday a tree, just like you thought. Those knees of his will have their fair share of bumps and bruises from playing hard and learning, just like you thought.

You will love him with every fiber of your being, probably more than you could imagine you would feel for someone else. And everything you do, every hour you spend on speech therapy, helping him try to ride a bike, doing hand over hand to get him to use a fork, picking up 50 crayons while trying to get him to work on writing his name — it will all be worth it.


This post originally appeared on The Sumulong 3.

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.

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