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What No One Told Me When My Child With Down Syndrome Was Born

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She turned my world upside down four years ago. In December 2011, we were preparing for the birth of our second daughter. We thought we were ready. We thought we knew what to expect.

All of the ultrasounds were OK. Besides the occasional, “She’s just measuring a bit small,” everything seemed fine.

We walked (well, ran but that is another story entirely) into the hospital that day. We had a baby four minutes later, while my husband was parking the car.

She was small, had a little button nose and noticeably almond-shaped eyes.

I remember my family admiring her. They were passing her around. “She looks like she has Down syndrome,” I said to the nurse. She gave me a look. I knew. “She has some characteristics; I will talk to you when everyone leaves.”

Nothing else needed to be said. I was devastated. She spoke with my husband and me. We cried. We knew.

The doctor wanted to do a blood test to be certain. It was ordered. Two weeks to wait. Two weeks of further terrifying myself on the internet.

People had kind words. They tried to help.

God won’t give you more than you can handle.

Children like that are only given to special people.

People with Down syndrome are so happy.

One nurse said, “You are so blessed. Take her home and love her.”

If a million tears could have changed her, I’m certain it would have happened then.

Each year as her birthday approaches, I get emotional. Thinking back on how upset I was, it is hard to remember. If I had only known.

On the day she was born, no one told me about the giggles, the hugs and the beauty. No one told me that she’d change my whole family. No one said she would melt the hearts of the strongest men I know.

little girl with down syndrome

No one said she will be the sunshine of your life. No one told me she’d be my greatest teacher.

I didn’t know anyone with Down syndrome. All I knew was fear. Stereotypes.

If I could go back to four years ago today, I would reassure my younger pregnant self of what was to come. Of course there are fears and worries, but the blessings far outweigh the difficulties.

She has changed a whole community with her smile. I have watched so many people change in her presence. She brings out the best in every person she meets.

Just because we are afraid, devastated and completely changed by a diagnosis and a moment, it doesn’t mean we can no longer grow.

Some of the most difficult moments in my life have brought forth the most powerful blessings. I’m thankful for the girl who turned my world upside down. I’m thankful for that devastating day that brought my family closer.

I’m thankful for how much I have learned about what is important.

Have you seen the first film with a national release to star a person with Down syndrome? Check out the film “Where Hope Grows” today!

Available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes. 

Originally published: December 17, 2015
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