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Why #lifeisbetterwithyou Is Important If You Love Someone With Down Syndrome

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After CBS reported that Iceland is eradicating Down syndrome through genetic testing and abortion, Annie Reid and Diane Grover, both mothers of children with Down syndrome, knew they had to do something to combat the negative stereotypes and perceptions surrounding Down syndrome. They came up with a plan to offset the negatives with a positive message —  #lifeisbetterwithyou — a 30-day campaign sharing the faces and lives of people with Down syndrome.

Reid and Grover launched their campaign on Facebook Live, asking others to share photos of their children and their experience as parents.

“I can’t call myself an advocate; I can’t call myself a mama bear if I don’t use this platform to rewrite the story,” Reid said during her Facebook Live video.

Within days, the campaign took off, spreading from Facebook to Twitter and Instagram, with hundreds of families sharing their photos.

In an interview with The Mighty, Grover said the hashtag gives families and individuals with Down syndrome an opportunity to voice their experiences. “It also allows future families and friends to see our lives in the way we want them presented,” she said. “So if they ever get a diagnosis themselves they will have already seen these positive honest stories and images.”

According to Grover, the founder and former Director of the International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life, close family and friends are just as likely to pressure couples to terminate a pregnancy.

“This is not purely a medical problem,” she added. “Photos like this affect family members in such a positive way. When a couple is supported by family and friends, it doesn’t matter if the medical community offers abortion.”

If you aren’t feeling supported, Reid and Grover suggest finding medical professionals who respect the decisions you make during your pregnancy.

Reid and Grover’s campaign ends on September 16. Those interested in participating can share a photo of their family on social media with the hashtag #lifeisbetterwithyou.

Originally published: August 29, 2017
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