Human Interest

Moms on kids with Down syndrome: ‘Not the baby I was expecting, but the one I love’

Down syndrome

Kathryn Lynard is the mother of a child with Down syndrome who put together a book filled with stories from moms like her. Lynard intends her book to be an encouragement to parents who have just discovered their babies have Down syndrome, to help them on their journey to accept and raise their babies.

Mothers in the anthology write about how much they love their children. Robin Roach writes about her son, Bryan:

…. He uses words and signs to communicate, crawls like crazy after the dog, and can stand on his own for a few minutes…. He holds his own bottle, can drink from a cup, and is learning to sip through a straw….

Bryan is curious, bright-eyed, and happy, and always has to know what is going on. He adores his older brothers – he lights up at just the sound of their voices or their steps as he hears them come into the room.…

… Doctors deal with facts, but children are much more than a collection of facts. They defy expectations; they do their own thing. We must never limit them based on some set of statistics or define them based on a diagnosis.

Jeanette Bollinger writes:

… People have always asked me whether I would take the Down syndrome away if I could. My answer is always no, because that would mean changing Carter, and I would never want to change him. If I can make life easier on him I will, as would any parent for their child. But he is perfect, just as he is.

Kelly Anderson describes how her other children interact with her son, Will:

My three older children have been affected by Will in such positive ways. They love to accompany Will to his preschool to meet the other kids in his class, many of whom also have developmental disabilities. They are not afraid of people who are different. My daughter’s teacher took me aside one day to tell me what a wonderfully caring and sensitive person my daughter is. Even in the presence of his friends, my oldest son makes time to hug and play with Will, not caring if he looks “cool.”

I could never, as a parent, instill in them the qualities that Will has. But because of their brother’s influence, they are becoming amazing human beings….

She tells parents receiving a prenatal diagnosis, “You are greater than you could ever imagine. Your child is waiting to give you a very precious gift: the gift of yourself.”

READ: Mother of child with Down syndrome: ‘She enriches our lives’

Nancy Iannone writes about her daughter:

… My baby is not a diagnosis, not a list of her potential woes. She is a beautiful person, full of laughter and grins. There is a world of possibilities laid out before her, and I love exploring those possibilities with her.

Peggy Cooper-Smith writes:

Cason has some delays in specific areas. But this little boy can make your bad day a better one. He can carry on a toddler debate over whether or not he should touch his mommy’s lamp, and he laughs knowingly at jokes and little teases. He wasn’t the baby I was expecting, but he is the son that I deeply love.

Tammy Hodgson writes:

Parker is more like my other kids that he is different. Yes, he is much slower in learning how to crawl. He is slower in learning how to talk. But like my other kids, he loves to be cuddled and tickled…. He loves to roughhouse and be thrown into the air by his dad…. He is, in more ways than not, just a typical Hodgson boy. Like the rest of us, he was born with his own combination of limitations and talents. And just like the rest of us, he deserves to be accepted and appreciated for the unique impact he will have upon the world.

Down syndrome

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Emily Zeid says:

… I now see the beauty in the differences that I used to believe were flaws. Her upturned almond eyes are filled with wonder, the flat space across the bridge of her nose is a favorite kissing place, and her low–set ears show off her ponytails perfectly.…

Nothing is given to her, and nothing comes easily to her – she earns everything she has with hard work. Her determination is a source of inspiration and pride for me….

Katy Servos writes:

I thank God every day for the gift I’ve been given in Sebastian. I’ve even told Him that I would consider myself blessed to have another child with Down syndrome. Sebastian has taught me that complete control of everything is not always necessary. My fears are erased and my love is expounded beyond recognition. Ironically, my biggest fear has become my biggest joy.

Carey Branam says:

Six months have passed now…. One would never know just from looking at her that she has an extra chromosome. She’s just a baby. I understand now that children with down syndrome do not spend their lifetime suffering; they are just like all children. They love us, and they need our love and acceptance in return.

READ: Mother of child with Down syndrome laments abortion: It ‘alarms my heart’

Carla Reeves had been upset to learn of her daughter’s diagnosis, but she came to love her. Reeves wishes she could’ve told her former self:

Amelia’s laugh is going to make you laugh; her smile is going to melt your heart. You’re going to get up every morning and see her smiling in her crib, and know that everything is wonderful. You’re going to beam with pride at every accomplishment. Best of all, you’re going to lay Amelia down at night and rub her face and tell her what a beautiful fairy princess she is, and she’s going to rub your face back, telling you that she thinks you are too.

And the most important thing I know now? You won’t lose a perfect little girl. You will gain one.

The testimonies of these mothers show that children with Down syndrome, like any children, are gifts. No matter how ambivalent or upset these parents were when they first received the diagnosis, they came to love them intensely. Perhaps these stories can give hope to other parents with the same prenatal diagnosis.

Source: Kathryn Lynard Soper Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives (Bethesda, Maryland: Woodbine House, 2007) 28, 54, 105, 106, 133 – 134, 147 – 148, 36, 163 – 164, 202 – 203, 211, 222

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