My Twin Brother Has Down Syndrome, This Is What I Want Moms of Babies With Down Syndrome to Know


 

I myself have not experienced having children, or have had to hear a Down syndrome diagnosis first-hand. However, I hope the perspective I share as a twin to someone with Down syndrome can help mothers who are still wrapping their heads around their baby’s recent diagnosis. Especially for mothers who already have other children, I’m confidently writing this as a reassurance that your kids can be amazing siblings to the baby with Down syndrome.

Growing up, Michael became my best friend and companion. Although he lacks the ability to speak, we played for hours every day, enjoying each other’s company. I learned acceptance at a very young age — it never bothered me when Michael would cause a commotion while in public, or that he cannot effectively communicate. My parents explained to me what Down syndrome is and how it affected Michael, but I did not mind.

As a child, I still viewed Michael as a normal human being just like everyone else. I never questioned angrily why my brother had to be different. I simply understood. This state of innocence persisted as I grew older, and my love for him grew as well. Michael has easily taught me hard work, responsibility, respect, patience and much more.

Growing up, I used to tell my parents that I would become a doctor and “cure” Down syndrome. Little to my knowledge back then, there was a solution: abortion. I believe people with Down syndrome are essential to our society, and no “cure” is needed. I cannot be more grateful for my experience growing up with Michael.

I’ve constantly asked myself over the past few years, “What is so important about Down syndrome?” And it goes more than just the fact that people with Down syndrome are “happier,” because they’re not always happy. Those with Down syndrome are just like you or me — they experience various emotions, but may just express them differently depending on their communication level.

I continuously seek for the beauty behind Down syndrome and why it’s important to keep the Down syndrome community. Something that I’ve fallen in love with is the genuine kindness radiating from these individuals. Although Michael may not be able to speak, he’s completely fluent in a more important language — the language of love.

Twins celebrating their first birthday, they are reaching and touching each other. One baby has Down syndrome.

Michael demonstrates the same affection to everyone, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. And that’s more of the attitude that this world needs. I am constantly inspired by the Down syndrome community in their genuineness towards other people. Michael excels at demonstrating his affection towards others, and I know he’s not alone. Experiencing the world while living with someone like Michael reminds you to fully appreciate what you’ve been given in life, and to look at people with a more open perspective.

 

Image Credits: Julia Toronczak

Follow this journey at Beyond the Waves.


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