When a Mom Told Me It Was 'Good News' Her Baby Doesn't Have Down Syndrome


author's baby, who has down syndrome I celebrated my 41st birthday last month. As I reflect back to the previous year, you would think I would be glad to have my 40th year in the books. Heck, I was surprised by an unexpected pregnancy, received a prenatal diagnosis that my son has Down syndrome, cared for him for 17 days in the NICU after duodenal atresia surgery on day four of his life and then watched him have open heart surgery at 4.5 months old. Definitely not the
easiest chain of events. It wasn’t at all what I expected year number 40 of my life to be. But I don’t view it as the worst year of my life. In some ways it is one of the best.

It is the year that stretched me in ways I didn’t know I could, it challenged my weaknesses and pushed me to a new level of emotional and spiritual maturity and it opened doors to adventures and opportunities I am still unveiling. And most importantly I received the gift of a beautiful son, who brings so much joy to my life. Don’t get me wrong, there were some dark days and a lot of tears in year number 40, but what I gained this year cannot be overlooked.

I recently had somebody confide in me they received a prenatal diagnosis similar to mine. She didn’t do the amniocentesis, so it wasn’t for sure, but they were preparing for the possibility. They chose to wait until the baby’s birth to confirm. I knew she had to be just as scared as I had been, and I did my best to help her realize it was going to be OK either way.

She was hoping it was a false positive. When she gave birth, I checked in to find out if her baby has Down syndrome. She responded by saying, “Well, we got the good news we were hoping for: she doesn’t have Down syndrome.”

Without any hesitation I thought, “Your loss.”

What?

Your loss?

I couldn’t believe this was the reaction from the woman who spent day after day pregnant in a dark cloud anticipating the arrival of a baby she didn’t even think she could love or know how to love. I was the mom who thought my life was over and that this child would ruin my life. I was someone who used to feel so uncomfortable around people with disabilities. And now I felt someone was missing out by not getting a Down syndrome diagnosis?

Shouldn’t I be feeling jealous of her “good news?”

I couldn’t believe it. Do I actually think that having a child with Down syndrome is a positive thing? A blessing? A good part of my life? Do I believe those who don’t get this experience are missing out?

I do.

This was yet another turning point for me as I continue to grow with Cody. And don’t get me wrong, I would have felt the same happiness and relief this mother did if Cody was born without Down syndrome. And I do know our life with a child with Down syndrome is going to bring challenges and more hard days and tears and frustration. And I don’t expect people to hope for a child with Down syndrome.

But what I do know is life with Cody is wonderful, and if you do receive the gift of a child
with Down syndrome, it is not a bad thing, you have not lost… you have won.

Follow this journey on Growing With Cody.

The Mighty is asking the following:  Tell us about a comment about your (or a loved one’s) disability, disease or mental illness that has stuck with you for one reason or another. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Have you seen the first film with a national release to star a person with Down syndrome? Check out the film “Where Hope Grows” today!

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