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When a Mom Asked Why We Don't Have Sad Posts in Our Down Syndrome Facebook Group

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A new mom asked me recently why all the posts in our Facebook group of families who have children with Down syndrome are so positive. Where are the posts that reflect those more somber moments she and her husband experience? She can see her son reflected in the shared photos – beautiful children, every one of them. But the posts – is she not normal for feeling discouraged at times, or are we less than honest in our online community? Here’s my best answer.

At our core and out of necessity, we’re a group of encouragers. We’re building a recharging station to sustain each of us individually and all of us collectively, as we travel a long road with challenges unique to those who have a child with Down syndrome. As we read the posts, our minds file away the joys, the accomplishments and the successes of families we know. And on days laced with discouragement, we can tap into those files and find the energy to continue on. Our online community, in part, is an encouragement bank into which we’re making frequent deposits for withdrawal by anyone who needs it on any given day.

Less-than-happy posts exist, but it’s a gift of grace that we all don’t have a bad day on the same day. In a low moment this month, when I felt like I had nowhere else to share, I posted:

The very large majority of days I count it as a blessing to have Down syndrome woven into the fabric of our family. This isn’t one of those days, but on we go….

I was immediately regretful – I didn’t want to sound negative, especially if families newer to the journey were following – and I went online to remove it. But before I could do that, there were a dozen wonderful responses offered, including:

I had one of those days last week. Yes, sometimes it just stinks. Thank God for the good days.

Thank you for saying that. (I’m not the only one!)

I hear ya, sister!

What a gift and a lesson in the rewards for being honest. The community is ready to carry anyone who needs it on a wave of support that comes from a place of genuine understanding. Instantly buoyed, I was able to move on.

So my final response to the new mother is this: If you’re feeling discouraged, post. Let us lift you up. And when you arrive again at the place where this child, who is the love of your life, is so awesome you can’t contain yourself, post again. We’ll read your post and file it away and will call on your joy to sustain us when it’s our turn to need the lift.


Originally published: March 10, 2015
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