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To the Family That Talked With Us About Our Prenatal Diagnosis

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Dear Karmen,

We’d just received our prenatal diagnosis. We were letting emotion take over logic. We were in a place of uncertainty and fear and worry. You reached out to us, invited us over to your home, and you were kind enough to share the journey you’ve been on with Carson. We walked in and you gave us a hug; you made us laugh and introduced us to your husband and your sweet little peanuts, McKenna and Carson.  Carson was in the middle of a therapy session, and I remember thinking, he needs occupational therapy? He needs physical therapy? He needs speech therapy? I could feel myself getting overwhelmed. At the time, all we knew was that children with Down syndrome had developmental delays. We didn’t know about hypotonia. We didn’t know about the vision, hearing and pulmonary appointments. We were lacking knowledge and awareness.

We went upstairs, and I soon came to realize that you and I are were really alike and that Joel and James had similar personalities. We are the lack-of-filter wives who tell it like it is, and our husbands are a bit more calm and relaxed and use their filters when needed. It was a match made in heaven.

You were honest and real with us. You were calm and relaxed and non-judgmental. You gave us a picture of love and reassurance, not one filled with grim statistics and upset. You told us you would support us along our journey and that you would guide us to a place of comfort and love. You talked about Carson’s appointments and that the journey with your son has been filled with joy, mixed with some bumps in the road. You were honest, and we appreciated it.

Our time at your house was filled with mixed emotions. We felt confident and then scared and wondered if we could be amazing parents to this little being growing inside of me. We felt uneducated and fearful if something went wrong during our pregnancy. We felt happiness that Brinley would have a sibling, but would they love each other? Would they be close? You answered all of our questions. You told us your reality. You told us the journey is beautiful and rewarding. You knew our baby would be loved and that she would change the world.

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As we sat on your couch, our worries began to dissipate. We felt support from a family who barely knew us. We felt like we had connected with a family who would hold our hand when we needed it. We felt the sadness start to lift. We felt the need to continue to educate ourselves and to make sure we did everything possible to keep our baby healthy.

Before we left, you gave us a video called “Deedah.” We didn’t watch it right away. We needed to process and think about the journey ahead. When we finally sat down, we watched it together. We smiled, we laughed, we cried. We closed that door of uncertainty and opened the door that was filled with hope and love and celebration.

Thank you for giving us your time that day. Thank you for not judging us and for accepting our fears and worries. Thank you for letting us know there is support. Thank you for hugging us. Thank you for being the voice of reason that we needed. Thank you for allowing us to express our concerns. Thank you for letting us walk out of your house that day feeling that we were not alone.


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Originally published: February 2, 2015
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