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To the Mom Whose Baby Was Just Diagnosed With Down Syndrome

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I know you’re scared.

I was there. I remember sitting in a crowded room, literally shaking when I was on the phone with my doctor as she said the words, “Your test came back positive for Down syndrome.”

I remember her trying to tell me how precious these kids are and how her sister loves being a special education teacher.

I remember trying to walk through a parking garage and realizing I was holding my breath and just trying to hold it together until I got to the privacy of my car.

I remember it taking forever before I got to my husband’s office for me to tell him as I just tried to process and accept it. I was just a shell of a person in these moments. Complete shock. Vacant.

And then my husband told me it was going to be OK. He said we were going to “rock this new normal.” I wanted to believe him, but it was hard.

I’d love to tell you I immediately accepted it and was excited to meet our baby girl and didn’t care about the diagnosis. But I did care — mostly because I just didn’t know. I was naïve and hadn’t been around a lot of people with Down syndrome. I made the mistake of Googling some information. Horrible idea. We went to a high-risk doctor to follow up. Terrible experience. Smart doctors are sometimes really bad with their words and their bedside manner can be excruciating.

Weeks and months went by and I was sad. Why was this God’s plan for our lives? This isn’t what I had pictured. I didn’t plan on this. Ever. But it was our future, and as upset as I was, I still wholeheartedly believed all life was so precious, made by God, with no mistakes. Nothing but his Plan A for our lives.

So we began reaching out and meeting some families in the Down syndrome community and talking to friends. I began to thaw. I met a super cool mommy with a 1-year-old baby girl with Down syndrome. I just stared at her and saw how beautiful she was and how happy her mommy was. I thawed a lot more.

I began to be quiet and listen to God. I believe his comfort was always there and his promises were always true and I began to feel better. Still a little fearful of how different our new normal would be, but better.

And what you’re feeling right now is OK. It’s normal. Take some time to understand the fact that your normal is going to be a little different.

But oh my, when she got here, all those feelings and heartache I just told you about were — poof — gone completely.

I was enamored with my precious, perfect baby girl. I was so proud of her, so happy to be her mother and so grateful to God. I believe he chose us to be her family. I believe his plan is perfect, and he gives really great gifts — better than we deserve, even if they didn’t seem like gifts we would pick at the beginning. As I read over this post now and remember how I felt at the beginning, I feel completely ridiculous. But it’s where I was, and it’s part of our journey.

Where you are right now may seem scary. It’s different than what you expected. Being scared doesn’t make you a bad person, but I promise — oh, how I promise — that this new normal is beautiful. Every single thing is now celebrated, the love is abundant and the community is amazing.

So please know how you feel right now is fleeting. It’s new, it’s a surprise, but it’s going to be amazing.

Jamie Bradford the mighty.2-002

Follow her journey on Normal as We Know It.

Originally published: August 19, 2015
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