55 Ways Loving a Child With Down Syndrome Can Be Described
By textbook definition, Down syndrome is described as a chromosomal condition resulting in three copies of chromosome number 21. The extra chromosome causes intellectual disability to varying degrees and a list of potential health problems.
What a textbook can’t tell you is the potential and personality of your own child and what they may do. Your child’s roadmap of life will be uniquely created by themselves and the friends and family who lovingly support, guide and believe in them.
If you set the textbook aside and look beyond the clinical, bleak picture sometimes painted by medical professionals, you will find a different definition, one written by your real life experience and the infinite love you have for your child.
I chose to put the textbook aside not long after finding out the baby boy I was carrying had a surprise in stall for us, something extra we were not expecting.
Sure, I did a lot of reading, but I reached a point where it became overwhelming. All the “maybes” and “what ifs” started to consume me, so I put the books down for a while and decided to enjoy my baby and learn about his own personality.
I chose to do things day by day.
So how can loving a child with Down syndrome be described?
Here are my 55 ways…
1. It is an unexpected diagnosis that challenges you to look inside yourself and believe that despite your fear, everything will be OK.
2. It is almond-shaped eyes that dazzle you with their beauty.
3. It is meeting other parents who take you under their wing and fill you with hope.
4. It is your child’s unwavering love for you, even when you doubt yourself.
5. It is low muscle tone that may bring walking later and the best cuddles.
6. It is sibling bonds that come into fruition like you had hoped.
7. It is learning your own language with your nonverbal child.
8. It is worry for the future kept in check to cherish the now.
9. It is learning not to compare your child with others.
10. It is the celebration that comes with every milestone.
11. It is the courage you build to advocate for your child.
12. It is a smile that is surely the most beautiful in the world.
13. It is the therapists and teachers who support you and see the potential in your child.
14. It is grandparents who dote and boast about their grandchild.
15. It is sloppy kisses so lovingly planted on your cheek.
16. It is learning who will stand by your side in good and bad times.
17. It is struggling with a diagnosis and feeling alone.
18. It is reaching out for support and realizing you are not alone.
19. It is being part of a unified, proud community of parents.
20. It is a weaker immune system and periods of illness that make you fret.
21. It is stares from strangers in public.
22. It is smiles and love from strangers in public.
23. It is asking for help despite your pride.
24. It is having high expectations and no limitations.
25. It is repetition of activities and the relief that comes when your child nails it.
26. It is learning how to support your child’s health.
27. It is little hands that learn sign language.
28. It is hearing first words you secretly felt may never come.
29. It is the pain in your chest when someone underestimates your child.
30. It is realizing your child is in fact your teacher.
31. It is the friends you can lean on when you are thrown a curveball.
32. It is the online community of parents who you may never meet in person but who are part of your circle of support and knowledge every single day.
33. It is learning how ignorant and uneducated you were before you loved someone with Down syndrome.
34. It is your amazement when your child crawls, sits, walks for the first time.
35. It is believing good days will come after bad ones.
36. It is your desire for others to see the worth of your child’s life.
37. It is adapting as a family.
38. It is a learned appreciation of the little things that matter.
39. It is coming home after being in hospital.
40. It is not coming home from hospital.
41. It is the worry that comes with schooling and the relief you feel when you find the right fit.
42. It is how much you would like to adopt every child with Down syndrome who has been abandoned because of their diagnosis.
43. It is tears in private when you are completely overwhelmed.
44. It is friends who listen and understand.
45. It is your child’s unwavering ability to overcome obstacles.
46. It is your desire for an even playing field for your child.
47. It is not judging another parent’s decisions.
48. It is sharing your knowledge with a new parent.
49. It is trusting your own intuition.
50. It is hope, love, joy, faith, belief and beauty.
51. It is moments of sadness, grief and anger.
52. It is different for everybody at any given time.
53. It is celebrating and supporting each other.
54. It is pride and hope we hold in our hearts for our children’s future.
55. It is what we hold in our hearts every day.
This is what loving a child with Down syndrome means to me.
Follow this journey on About Ash.
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!