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To the Mom Who Just Found Out Her Child Has Down Syndrome

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I was where you are.

I felt that same fear, that isolation, that loneliness.

I felt grief and a sense of loss. Grief over the loss of who I thought my child was supposed to be.

I was told so many things. I was told about all the things she wouldn’t be able to do. All the things she would struggle with. I was told to expect less of my baby than I did with my other children, my chromosomally typical children. I worried that having a sibling with Down syndrome would be a terrible experience for my other children.

I was given condolences on the birth of my baby, instead of congratulations. Friends and family began to avoid us and act uncomfortable in our presence. As if Down syndrome was contagious.

I was once where you are. I was in a place where I thought I’d never smile or laugh again. What I needed was someone to just tell me the  truth. The truth about what it is to be a mom in the Down syndrome community.

The truth is I’m happier than I have ever been in my entire life.

The truth is that my baby  deserves to be celebrated. She is more alike than different, and her differences don’t define her.

The truth is she has made each one of us a better person.

The truth is her siblings absolutely adore her and are fiercely protective of her. We all are.

The truth is she has a tenacity about her unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. She can and will accomplish anything she sets her mind to.

The truth is she’s perfect in every way, and I wouldn’t change a thing about her. She is a source of overwhelming love and joy.

The truth is that sometimes I wish I could go back. Back to where you are right now, so I could tell myself that my baby girl has a gift. She has a gift of being able to make everything she’s a part of better. I would tell myself this is a time for celebration, not grief or sorrow. That this child will bring more happiness to my family than I ever thought possible.

Because that is what the truth is.

Originally published: March 23, 2018
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