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My Daughter With Down Syndrome Opened My Heart to Care for Others

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I met my brand new baby girl August 16th, 2017 and when she came out of her sweet warm womb, she brought with her a little something extra. Chloe was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth and the world saw it fitting that I would be her mama!

When we announced her surprise diagnosis, nearly everyone who knows me had the same response “she couldn’t have been given to a better family.” This was difficult to hear and process at the time, and with each attempt to comfort us, it dug deeper into my soul. Yes, I am the perfect mother for this little girl, but this wasn’t what I imagined, and I was done being a Special Education teacher. I sat and wallowed for weeks, worrying about all of the typical new mama frights and wondering about the future. I worries about Chloe’s social, physical and developmental delays to the point of exhaustion. One day, I looked at Chloe and recognized the beauty in who she is, here and now. I am only promised this moment, and with each fear or concern I let control me, the moments slipped away and Chloe got another day older, another ounce heavier and I lost beautiful opportunities to share with the world who Chloe is.

Chloe is perfectly Chloe today and always.

My feelings of concern and fright driven by love were, and still are, valid to this day. Having Chloe has reminded me countless times that my emotions are worth feeling and that I was given them for a purpose. When I am sad, I allow myself the space to cry it out, and when I am “dancing from the rooftops with joy,” I do so without fear. I feel deeper now than before Chloe and her diagnosis and rely more on God and His purpose for these feelings than I have ever done before. These feelings now drive me to not simply sit and wallow, but to be better and to do something.

When I am broken over the devastating fact that families are spending months in the hospital, I give. When I read a story about a baby who may need a heart transplant, I pray. When I notice my friends are returning to the hospital for another round of who knows what, I buy them dinner. When I see my friends’ story of choosing joy in the middle of a birth diagnosis spread like wildfire, I rejoice. When Chloe sits up unassisted for the first time… tears of joy are already coming!

It is because of my 3.21 surprise that I have the opportunity to truly feel and be a person of action; and what a truly great feeling that is.

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Originally published: March 9, 2018
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