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To the People Who Think We're 'Making the Best Out of a Bad Situation'

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When I was 13 weeks pregnant, it was confirmed that our third and final child, a boy we joyfully referred to as “Baby Sugar,” would be born with Down syndrome. Initially, it was a shock and I feared what our new normal would look like. 

Two years later, our new normal looks that the same of any typical family plus a few added weekly therapy sessions. I’ve come to realize how lucky we are and am so happy this boy, Dash, was given to us.

But on the other hand, I’ve felt something deep in my heart that makes me sad, too. You see, when we’re out and about in public, we’ve gotten quite used to the stares. Most people are curious about others who may look or act different. They are intrigued by Dash. They smile, giggle and wave to our son, and he loves it because he’s very much a people person. I’m talking about those few-and-far-between stares that resemble pity. The comments made to us or around us that basically suggest we’re making the best out of a not-great situation. 

I must make it abundantly clear when I say there is no bad situation. We are not pretending. The joy, the laughter, the smiles and most importantly the love between us is real. We do feel incredibly lucky to have this little boy in our lives. Lucky — like “we won the lottery” lucky. I must also make it clear that he’s not lucky to have us — we’re lucky to have him. I must urge those who see someone who looks different from themselves or their child to reach out and ask questions, but most importantly, get to know that child. You may make a friend and possibly learn something about yourself you didn’t know. We’re all different, and in our house, different is beautiful.

Dash has taught me so much about myself since I was prenatally diagnosed that I may have never known without him. Our world is definitely much brighter and more beautiful since the day he walked into it. I truly believe he was meant to be mine. He has given me far more in his two short years than I may ever give back to him during his lifetime.

If you happen to see my family out and about, as we often are, and you see us totally in love and proud of our son who happens to have Down syndrome — it simply means we are.

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Originally published: September 23, 2015
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