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To the Mom Told to Abort Your Baby With Down Syndrome

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Dear Mama,

You just received the news that your precious baby will be born with Down syndrome. If your experience is anything like mine, you were told multiple times you could abort your baby. The doctor may have even tried to convince you it would be in everyone’s best interest to abort your baby, especially if they also have a heart defect or other condition.

Please don’t make a decision out of fear.

No matter what challenges you face, you will love your baby fiercely. You will cherish every moment with them, and you will watch in awe as they defy the odds. I understand this, because I was in your shoes. I understand what you are feeling, because I felt it, too.

I know what it’s like to be told my baby will not survive to full term.

I know what it’s like to be told my baby has Down syndrome.

I know what it’s like to find out my baby will need open-heart surgery, and will spend an unknown amount of time in the hospital after birth.

I understand what you are feeling, and I’m here to tell you that you will never regret not giving into fear. You will never regret believing in your little baby and giving them a chance at life. Fear is a powerful emotion that can make even the strongest person make decisions they regret, but love is greater. Think about how much you love the little one growing inside of you. Think of how much you love your other children, if you have them. I promise you will love this baby with Down syndrome just as much as you love them. You will be introduced to a world you can’t possibly imagine yet; and it is wonderful.

This world that many parents of children with Down syndrome belong to is full of amazing warriors, fierce advocates and beautiful mamas just like you. Most of us never thought we would be a part of this world, but here we are, and we are love it.

I know your situation may seem dire now, but don’t give up. You can overcome this. You can make it through this challenge, and the ones you will face in the future. When your child turns one, you might look back on this moment and wonder why you ever considered listening to the doctor about ending your pregnancy. You will look into your little one’s almond shaped eyes beaming with unconditional love for you and be so thankful you chose to embrace their difference.

I have been a part of the Down syndrome community for over a year, and I have not met a parent who regretted giving their child life. Instead, I see parents who celebrate their children’s small accomplishments, love them unconditionally and cherish their extra chromosome. This may seem unbelievable now, but trust me when I say you will be thankful for that extra chromosome at some point in your child’s life. You will let go of the fear, embrace your new normal, and treat your child for who they are: your child.

So, look at the ultrasound photo of your beautiful baby, and let go of your fear. Know that you have a whole community who understands how you feel, just waiting to love and embrace you and your little one. Listen to those of us who have been right where you are.

Your child is beautiful and can have a wonderful life with a little something extra.

With love,

A fellow Down syndrome mama

Originally published: March 28, 2018
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