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When My Little Brother Was Born With Down Syndrome

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I remember when my parents told me the news that they were finally having a baby. After many prayers, I finally had the sibling that would take on the world with me. The sibling I would argue with, the sibling who would be my forever best friend — the other half of me. Eager and awaiting a healthy boy, I got more and more excited each day. Finally the day came and I was so anxious I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Many hours later, Will was born. Soon after birth, Will was diagnosed with duodenal atresia, something commonly linked to Down syndrome. They further examined Will and gave us the diagnosis — very negatively. We were happy for a baby, yet it seemed more like we were losing a child. All we wanted to hear was a simple, “Congratulations, you have a beautiful baby boy!” and instead our ears were filled with many apologies and our eyes were filled with many tears.

A few hard hours later, Will was sent to Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital for surgery for his duodenal atresia. While my parents were there, they realized they were surrounded by many parents who did not know if their child would even live. They knew Will would survive and they would have a son after that day. They realized at that moment that they should be happy. They had a beautiful baby boy and they were going to love him so much. Life may get tougher for us and it could take a little longer to get where we wanted to go, but everything would be worth it. Will would achieve great things and prove everyone wrong.

Will got out of surgery and it was there at that hospital where we were told for the first time the words we were longing for: “Congratulations!”

Will wasn’t a burden. Will was my brother, and I was going to love him so much. When he was born it was treated like a death, and it was anything but that. It was the start of a new happiness none of us could have ever imagined. Because of him, we all changed for the better, and my life is forever improved. If I could ever have the power to tell everyone one thing, it would be simple: kids with disabilities are just like you and me. Everyone in this world is perfect just the way they are and we are all working hard to achieve in life. So don’t discriminate or degrade, and don’t underestimate. We are all working to put together every piece, but some have a more complicated puzzle to complete. Everyone works hard and we can all finish and get to the same outcome in life.

Getty image by FamVeld.

Originally published: August 13, 2018
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