If My Child Had Been Born Without Down Syndrome...

There were initial fears when I heard the words, “Your baby has Down syndrome.”

Dear son,

I won’t lie, I was scared of what the diagnosis might mean for your future and for your brother’s future. Would you miss out on going to a typical school? Would you miss the chance to have friends? Would you miss out on the experience of going to college, falling in love, getting married and having your own family someday? Would your brother miss out on having a typical sibling? Would he miss out because you have more appointments and hospital stays? Would he miss out because we couldn’t afford to do things with him?

The unknown can be scary for anyone — there are still some unknowns about your future but there is for everyone’s future.

What we know now, is that we would have missed out on a lot if you had been born without Down syndrome.

We would have missed out on the most fun, laid back, easy going baby who loved to snuggle and loved everyone he saw.

We would have missed out a love and joy that is indescribable.

We would have missed out on learning to appreciate all the little things. Others easily take milestones for granted: like their children learning to sit up, eating, walking and talking. You worked so hard to do those things and we watched your great determination to accomplish each one. You didn’t care that you had to work harder and longer to achieve these milestones — you just did it. We cherished each one and will continue to do so as you grow and learn new things.

We would have missed the opportunity to learn that individuals with disabilities are just like everyone else — they want to be loved, they want to love, and they want to be included.

We would have missed out on the opportunity to look someone in the eye who looks different than us and say hello. You tell everyone you see “Hi,” regardless of who they are.

We would have missed the opportunity to know and grow with other families on similar journeys — we would have missed out on being a part of this very awesome Down syndrome community.

We would have missed out learning that someone with a limited vocabulary or who is nonverbal should not be mistaken as having low comprehension.

We would have missed out on your sensitivity to people’s emotions, your ability to immediately show empathy to those who are hurting or upset.

We would have missed out on knowing that true success is not measured by your income, what you have or what education you have completed. You are a successful human being when you have chosen to be kind to everyone, love everyone, and include everyone.

We would have missed out on becoming better people. You have taught us many lessons and you are only 3 years old. You challenge us to the best we can be because that’s what you do every day.

We would have missed out on realizing the value of every single human life. We may have all been designed differently, given different talents, given different gifts, given different physical and cognitive abilities but we all were created to contribute to this earth. All of us can work together to be better.

We would have missed out on knowing you — you are so unique, so funny, so smart, so you.

We would have missed out on a lot if you had been born without Down syndrome. We would have missed out on knowing and loving you.

If we had the opportunity to choose this life of having a child with Down syndrome again, we would choose it — a million more times because we would have truly missed out on a great life if you had been born without Down syndrome.

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