3 Life Lessons I've Learned From Down Syndrome and Alopecia

April is always an emotional month for me. It’s a time of reflection. Reflecting back to the day I first heard those words, “your baby will be born with Down syndrome.” That was three years ago. And boy has my perspective changed since then.

I wanted so much to become “that mom,” you know? The one who seems to have it “all together.” But let’s be honest, does that even exist?

My fight for Izzy’s life became much more important than my desire of becoming the perfect mom. Izzy was a very sick little baby when she was born. While I wanted to be so much more to her, all I could do was hold her little finger while she laid in hospital beds for most of her first 2 years of life. She fought, and she fought hard!

There were days I didn’t shower, didn’t eat and didn’t sleep. I just sat by her bed praying that God would work it all out, that she would get the miracle she so desperately needed. And she did.

Our life finally seemed to be going in the right direction. Then came another diagnosis to add to her list of complications — alopecia areata. At the time I couldn’t grasp why God would bring us so far to add what seemed like one more struggle to our life. My beautiful daughter lost all of her hair in three short months. We became known as “the cute little bald girl with Down syndrome who has a great mom.”

Down syndrome and alopecia have taught me three things:

1. Forget about the dishes, the laundry and the unswept floors — cherish life for what it is, a blessing.

2. Don’t allow fear of the unknown to rob you of the joy that is right in front of you.

3. Be real. Just be you. Real moms have real kids who sometimes have to fight for a real chance in life.

Sometimes, in order to gain new perspective, you need to take time to set your dreams aside and hold on tight to what is real, right in front of you. Isabella and I are simply a real mom raising a real kid with real life struggles. We take each day as it comes.

Down syndrome and alopecia does not define who Izzy is, but it has helped me to be the very best mom I can be for her.

We aren’t perfect, just real.

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