Here are the first four facts:
1. You may be feeling shocked, scared and alone. It’s OK, so did we. It will pass. What you may be feeling now is transient. Your life has changed for the better, you just don’t know it yet.
2. Your baby may be more like you than different.
3. There is no “one size fits all” with Down syndrome. Your baby will be unique, beautiful and very much their own person, just like you.
4. Your doctor may present a negative view about Down syndrome and paint a bleak picture. I promise you that life with a child with Down syndrome is not bleak. Far from it. It’s bright. Very, very bright.
My daughter, Jessica was diagnosed at four weeks, due to a variety of reasons. When we received the label, I totally freaked out. The only things I had been told about Down syndrome, were all negative. I thought my world had collapsed. I thought having a child with Down syndrome was going to be excruciatingly difficult and a burden. Post-natal depression immediately consumed me.
But you know what? We're now ten years down the track, and I must say it hasn't always been easy, but it's been an awesome ride. My daughter has talents and spunk. She is loving and kind. She is reading and writing, doing math and participating in regular school. Jessica is in the school choir and will be in the school musical at the end of the year. She's achieving in some subjects at and above her age group.
Having a child with Down syndrome has definitely not been a negative experience. In fact, it's been pretty good actually.
When my daughter's out and about, I miss her. I just couldn't imagine my life without her being in it. There are no regrets or 'I wish' concerning her. The only 'I wish' I have extends back to the lack of positivity about the syndrome. I wish that there had been encouraging information and blogs back in 2007. I wish the obstetrician had said, 'Congratulations', not 'I'm sorry'. Everything I read after Jessica's diagnosis was negative, negative, negative. What the doctors told me was negative, negative, negative. Blogs like this one, shine a light into the dark world of prejudice towards people who have an intellectual disability.