Maria Jordan MacKeigan

@maria-jordan-mackeigan | contributor
Maria Jordan MacKeigan resides in Edmonton, Canada. Author of “A Princess Wish.” Mother of two precious girls sent from above, and married to one supportive hubby. She is finally living her dream to write.
Community Voices

“It’s not fair to the siblings”

“It’s not fair to the siblings”

To grow up with compassion
To live joyously
To learn patience
To enjoy the journey as much as the destination “It’s not fair to the siblings”

To grow up standing up for others
To protect the innocent
To advocate for those who need a voice “It’s not fair to the siblings”

To be hugged every five minutes
To be loved unconditionally
To have a cheering team in one little being
To be kind to everyone no matter where they come from or what they look like “It’s not fair to the siblings”

To learn to live life in the moment
To learn to forgive easily
To not dwell on the past
To not worry about tomorrow
To live for today. “It’s not fair to the siblings”

By Maria Jordan MacKeigan

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Remembering My Pregnancy With a Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis

I radiated happiness now that I was finally pregnant. The past 9 months had been a bit trying: making sure I could get pregnant and stressing about getting pregnant. I remember that beautiful summer day, when I got that first reassurance there was a little life inside me. I remember the joy of seeing that perfect heartbeat on the screen. My husband, oldest daughter and I walked out overjoyed, hand in hand and skipping along the road. I dreamt about out future as a sweet family of four — what our future would be like. I pictured it so fun and so complete. Then on a bright sunny day, a day when time seemed perfect and I should have known life was about to change, someone said, “life can’t be that happy.” Nothing could put the pieces of my heart back together after a prenatal diagnosis of a heart defect and Down syndrome for that baby girl I wished for. I felt completely broken, losing hope and feeling unbelievably fearful of the unknown. I mourned the loss of a child I dreamed of. As the days and months went by, I cried and leaned on those closest to me. I fell on my knees and prayed in desperation. One day, I don’t recall exactly when, but my heart started to put the pieces back together and it finally became whole again. My family was completed on a crisp, sunny day; the day Jordan Grace came into this world after a couple of gentle pushes. When she was placed on my chest, I felt as if she looked right into my soul. I knew then life would be better than I could have ever imagined. After all, my dreams had come true, that little girl I dreamed of having was finally here in my arms. Three years later, I’m at a place I never imagined I’d be. Those dark days when I couldn’t see past my belly, when I couldn’t imagine what life would be like, are now forever buried and placed away. I am the happiest I’ve ever been; my family is united and full of love. I’m not sure anyone has a perfect family or life, but it feels so good living this life! Dear mom to be with a Down syndrome diagnosis, not to spoil the ending, but everything is going to be OK! We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

A Request to Beyoncé From a Mother of a Child With Down Syndrome

Dear Beyoncé, From mother to a mother, I ask you to stand up for our precious ones living the beauty of Down syndrome. I am Jordan Grace’s mother and I work hard each day for equality, inclusion and most of all respect. It takes a village to raise children, as you know. It is difficult enough to speak up when trolls come around our platform and try to belittle our precious ones. I ask you respectfully, as a woman and mother, to ask Eminem to remove the R-word from his lyrics in your new collaborated song, “Walk On Water.” As a community, we have tried hard to fight this word because it is completely demeaning and hurtful. I don’t know if he is looking for controversy. However, I am always looking for kindness in this world. Please consider my request. It takes people on your platform level to speak up for us down here. Be the change! Thank you. Sincerely,A very proud mother of a precious one living the beauty of Down syndrome. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Image via Facebook.

What My Life Is Like Having a Daughter With Down Syndrome

My daughter, Jordan Grace, has Down syndrome. She has a sense for enjoying all the little things in life. You know that saying, “stop and smell the roses?” Well, that’s what our Jordan Grace has shown us. She takes her time — just walking to the car from the house, she will acknowledge the trees, sometimes stops and smells them, she says goodbye to the house, waves and blows kisses, and walks around the bushes in front of our house, literally having the time of her life, smiling and running around, as if she’s doing it for the very first time. She has no sense of hurry, which has helped me learn to slow down in life. She notices birds, planes, leaves on the grown, butterflies; she appreciate and loves all things. It is amazing how she brings our attention to things we know are there but truly never see. Jordan Grace has a way to make our stress disappear, if only for a moment, filled with sweet reminders of what is important in life.   I have always been the kind of person who likes to be on time, no matter where I go. Even if I give myself time, sometimes where we are going is not as important as the journey. The sweet little adventures she takes me on are worth taking the time to experience. Her little being does not tell time, she’s not on a schedule to accomplish anything. She is, however, interested in making everyone smile. She’s loving and caring, she worries when anyone cries — it could be a stranger at a store, she wants to run and hug them. She has feelings, all of them, she’s not always happy — though most of the time she is. Her soul radiates sweet sunshine, it is impossible to have a bad day when she’s around. Our little one has a way to show us how to slow down in life by leading us by example. Living life through her eyes has truly been a new experience for all of us. Being in the present is how she lives, she’s not looking ahead, she enjoys each moment to the fullest. That’s the life I want to live, she inspires me to appreciate this gift we have, this life we live, this moment in time. To me, that is the definition of Down syndrome. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

When My Daughter Was Born With Down Syndrome

This week I was hit hard with emotions. Sometimes things don’t seem to affect me as much, but when it comes to my personal story and experiences, some words can bring me to my knees in pain. The other day, a friend posted she had heard of a couple who found out their child would be born with Down syndrome and had an appointment scheduled to terminate their pregnancy. She asked us parents to chime in on what we would say to someone in her situation. The waterworks came immediately, I wasn’t finished reading the post when my eyes were burning with tears. My heart sunk and my being went back to that deep dark hole I fell into more than three years ago. My “now” self wanted to tell my “then” self everything was going to be OK; — that I shouldn’t feel sad, mad or in horrible despair — that this baby, this sweet girl, was going to show me what her life was all about. I wanted to tell my “then” self I was being melodramatic, that all those tears, all the yelling, all that being angry with God was not necessary; a waste of precious time. But I had to stop myself and realize I had to go through all those feelings and emotions; that only if I had known Jordan Grace herself, I could never be satisfied with knowing what it would be like to have a child with Down syndrome. I still don’t know what to tell my “then” self, or the woman today dealing with these news of diagnosis, or the ones who are yet to come.   They call us the lucky few for a reason. I always say we live this amazing secret society, where only the ones who live it can understand, appreciate and rejoice in it. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever known. It’s something that people can share with you, but unless you dive in and swim in this pond of beauty, you may never know. I think it’s safe, although sad to say, that I had very low expectations. Basing it from what the doctor lectured us, she would be incapable of being human, I guess. He described someone who would be dependent, someone who needed help to do anything and everything. We all talk about it within our community, the way the news is delivered can make you or break you. It certainly broke me. I wasn’t expecting to feel the way I did, to think that the hardest decision to make would be to continue on and live this life we were told was horrendous. It wasn’t. Because in the end, my child, our Jordan Grace, is truly better than who we imagined her to be. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

My Daughter With Down Syndrome Is Worthy of Life

Last week our Down syndrome community  was shaken to the core with the news coming out of Australia and Iceland. Many of my social media friends began posting their feelings and thoughts all over their blogs. I wrote a little blurb, but my heart is left confused and aching for sweet precious ones lost and babies who never had an opportunity to live. I found out our Jordan Grace would be born with Down syndrome while I was pregnant. The first and only option I was given by the professional was abortion. Right away he gave Greg and I a lecture about all the negative things we would face and horrible life we would discover. I sunk so low to a deep hole, my thoughts could only see what this doctor was describing: a life for my child that no mother wants to picture; a life of pain. Some days I was completely numb to the world, I was so deep in despair I felt the only way out would be without this baby.   We had been wanting her, praying for her and trying to get pregnant for so long. Why was this cruel world making me feel like I didn’t want this precious life I already loved inside me? The answer was fear of the unknown. People are afraid or reject things that are not common to them. It’s our natural instinct. But I’m here now as a witness of parenting a child with an extra chromosome — and let me tell you, it’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s different, but nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, Jordan Grace has the same feelings and personality as other children. I know I won’t convince non-believers with my words. It would have been hard for me to understand looking in from the outside. What I cannot understand is why people think it’s OK to terminate certain pregnancies. It’s the woman’s choice, but when it comes to disabilities, everyone is up in arms about it. I say when it comes to human life everyone should be up in arms about it. Life is precious. So why does the life in the womb not get a choice? It’s a fair question. I’m here as a professional mother to let you all know my daughter not only deserves to live, but she deserves respect, love and to be included. She is the light of our world. I wish the world could see that. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

My Daughter's Almond Shaped Eyes Show Me Different Is Beautiful

These almond shaped eyes. Every time I look into my daughter’s eyes, I feel I can see deeply into her soul. There is no definite color, I see green, grey, blue and brown. She’s some kind of beautiful and I can’t help but thank God each and every day for her, and for making her the way I believe He did. The fact is, most days I “forget” she has Down syndrome, I see her as my daughter, my Jordan Grace. Her beauty radiates through her big heart, her smiles, her personality and those sweet eyes that showcase her being. Our little lady is 3 years old, but when we first found out about her diagnosis of Trisomy 21, we knew she would look different. The thought of her standing out to others or maybe getting ugly stares, was something I imagined in my heart would be extremely hurtful. The stares have gone away, or maybe I just learned how to ignore the ignorant. I feel like she wins people over with how friendly she is; she has a way of pulling people into her circle by just being her precious little self. She makes me proud to be her mother. Those almond shaped eyes were something scary to me because I had no knowledge of what they truly meant. I feared the unknown, I feared “different” and “unique.” Those are the things I now value the most. Being different is what we all are! Different is good and should be celebrated, because if we were all the same, life would be boring. The uniqueness we each bring to this world opens up the doors of understanding, compassion and respect. But what we truly need to focus on is inclusion. Including those who may teach us a thing or two about a different point of view and a different way of life. Though the eyes of people with Down syndrome may be an imperfection to some people, having Down syndrome and almond shaped eyes does not make someone less worthy of life. We all have a purpose in this world and each of us is a spice in this great melting pot. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

If I'd Known Then What I Know Now About My Daughter With Down Syndrome

If only I’d known then what I know now. That you would be born in just four minutes with two gentle pushes. That seconds after you were born you would look right into my eyes making me feel all would be good in our world. That having an extra chromosome would not define you, you would be you, no matter what. That at 5 months you would show more courage than I have seen in my 40 years as you underwent open heart surgery. That your precious heart would be OK. That you would communicate in your own ways, but loud and clear. That in your time you would laugh, talk, sit, stand, hug, kiss, wave and so much more. That you would draw a crowd in with your sweet smile. That you would bring endless sunshine into our lives. That our world would be a million times more amazing than we could have ever imagined. That you would change our lives for the better the moment we found out you were on your way. That there was nothing to fear and everything to be thankful for. That you would show us love, the kind of love that’s unexpected, unimaginable and unending. That you would be the dream we never had, but truly our dream come true! We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Why I Can't Imagine a World Without Down Syndrome

I recently watched a documentary called “A World Without Down’s Syndrome” (spelled the English way). The title in itself makes me sad. Yes, my initial response to the news that our second baby would have Down syndrome was shock and fear of the unknown. But I thank God I had the time to get to know the baby inside me and know she had both a heart defect and Down syndrome ahead of time. I had time to process the gift and it made her birth a celebration, not something to mourn. Hindsight is always 20/20, and though people could have said and did say amazing things to me about their loved ones with Down syndrome, I wasn’t ready to hear them or to accept my future. Unless you are in our shoes, it’s hard to picture having a child with Down syndrome and really experiencing this kind of love. It cannot be put into words, though I’ve tried many times — the feelings I have as a mother, and what I see each day in her sister’s eyes and in her father. Just incredible, unconditional love. I believe we are called #theluckyfew for a reason. We have the opportunity to know what it truly means to love someone with Down syndrome. I’m not here to convince anyone to love my daughter, I just want to share what I know as an insider. There are many forms of screening, and we had a few of them done. Down syndrome was not detected in the early stages of my pregnancy. We were told at our 20-week ultrasound that our baby had a heart defect most commonly correlated with Down syndrome. We, like many others who have been in our situation, were devastated to say the least. Why? Because the doctor who delivered the news was very much for termination of the baby. He told us the baby, who we now knew was the little sister our oldest daughter had prayed for, would be a burden. He tried to talk us into an abortion for a period of time. As a practicing Catholic, I’ve never believed in abortion. But as faithful as I’ve been all my life, this doctor was trying to talk me into terminating a 20-week-old life inside me. In such deep despair, I found myself in doubt. This doctor, who never spoke about anything but termination, failed to tell me what her life would truly be like. He was completely wrong. She’s not a burden; in fact, she’s a blessing. I came to terms with the Down syndrome diagnosis at some point during my pregnancy. I don’t remember when, but I did. I didn’t embrace it, however, until Jordan Grace turned 2 years old. After writing a children’s book and finally filling out an application to become a member of the Down syndrome societies, both local and national, I jumped in with both feet. We often don’t imagine that doctors could be wrong. We believe what they tell us. But along my sweet journey of endless families telling the same story, I’ve seen how they weren’t given the facts, either. I never imagined my life would turn out this way. It’s actually a lot better than I expected it to be. Jordan Grace is a regular little girl; she talks, plays, laughs and enjoys every single minute of her life. It kills me to think of my life without her. Her life is worthy and her life means something. She is a valuable human being and she deserves to be loved, respected and included. It is my life’s mission to advocate for her and for all who are “different.” I cannot imagine a world without Down syndrome. I have so much pride in my family. We are not perfect, no one is, but we sure are blessed and happy with the way our story turned out. This life is about this beautiful journey we’re on. I am loving every speed bump, every traffic stop, every green light, and every yield! For those of you who walk with us, we are proud to know you. For those of you who judge us, it doesn’t bother us, because we are living this beauty. For those of you who pity us, you wouldn’t if you knew this kind of love. For those of you who learn from us, we are humbled. For those of you who love us, thank you for opening your heart! We will keep sharing our story of love. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Down Syndrome and Doctors Who Push for Pregnancy Termination

Dear Doctor, You sat next to me in a cold conference room and told me that our baby would be born with Down syndrome. But you didn’t stop there. You went on for more than 10 minutes, explaining to me that aborting this child at this stage was OK, or that I could still decide in the next two to three weeks. You said our life would be very difficult and affected negatively by this child. We met again after non-invasive test results came in, and again you went on and on about terminating my pregnancy. Saying our life would be “better” without this baby. You failed to tell me that my baby would look into my eyes with trust and joy seconds after being born. You failed to tell me that our baby would pull herself to a sitting position by holding on to my thumbs at only 2 days old. You failed to mention that she would roll over at 6 weeks old. You failed to mention any of the amazing things she could do. You never once mentioned that our baby would be a joy and a gift. You seemed more interested in making my baby non-existent. The fear you implanted in our hearts caused a lot of grieving, tears, anger, frustration and sadness. It breaks my heart to think of all those mothers you may have scared into terminating their pregnancies, robbing them of the beauty Down syndrome can bring. Our baby is not a mistake. I believe God doesn’t make mistakes. Our baby has a name; she’s not a label. Our baby has feelings and a magical personality. She has a way of magnetically attracting people to her. Doctor, I invite you to do your human research, to follow families who are blessed with loved ones with Down syndrome on social media. To see how we live each day, to witness the joy, the love, the ability these wonderful people possess. I’m writing this letter to respectfully let you know — you were wrong! Your words have an impact on others. I encourage you to humanize science and take the time to follow the lives of people with Down syndrome, to give parents hope. Because the statistics you gave us have changed. People with Down syndrome are not only living longer, they are owning businesses, they are getting married, and they are even winning Emmy’s! Our loved ones are living full, beautiful lives. You must be willing to give them a chance, and offer a loving path for their parents to help them understand. Our lives feel more blessed than we could have ever imagined. Our daughter is loved and cared for by many, including strangers. If you have just been given a diagnosis of Down syndrome, I want to be the first to congratulate you! Welcome to #theluckyfew club. You will learn that your baby will look like your family, your baby will bring you so much love, and he or she will be successful in life with your guidance and with your advocacy. Your baby will be unique, because we are all different yet we are all human, we all have a heart, and we all have feelings. And the best part is that you will live a very “normal” life. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.