This beautiful little girl is one-year-old Gracie. I can’t help but smile every time I see her photos come up in my Instagram feed! Today her mama, Jamie, talks about how she first responded to the news of her daughter’s diagnosis and what she has learned since Gracie’s arrival. You can find Jamie and Gracie on Instagram at @jme027 and on their blog Normal As We Know It.
When did you find out Gracie had Down syndrome?
When I was 16 weeks pregnant, we found out Gracie would be born with Down syndrome. A few weeks after that, we found out she had a pretty big heart defect that would require open heart surgery within the first few months of being born!
What were some of the emotions you had when you got the news?
I’d love to tell you that I immediately accepted it and was excited to meet our baby girl and didn’t care about the diagnosis. But I did care – mostly because I just didn’t know. I was naive and had not been around a lot of people with Down syndrome. I made the mistake of googling some information. Horrible idea. We went to a high-risk doctor to follow up. Terrible experience. Smart doctors are sometimes really bad with their words and their bedside manner can be excruciating.
Weeks went by and I was sad. Why was this God’s plan for our lives? This isn’t what I had pictured. I did not plan on this. Ever. But it was our future and as upset as I was, I still wholeheartedly believed all life was so precious, made by God, with no mistakes – nothing but His plan A for our lives.
So we began reaching out, meeting some families in the Down syndrome community and talking to friends. I began to thaw. I met a super cool mommy with a one-year-old baby girl with Down syndrome (@mollieglasgow). I just stared at her and saw how beautiful she was and how happy her mommy was. I thawed a lot more.
I began to be quiet and listen to God. His comfort was always there and His promises were always true and I began to feel better. Still a little fearful of how different our new normal would be, but better.
What is something you want everyone to know about Gracie?
She’s perfect. She is not a mistake, and there is no reason to feel sorry for us that she was born with Down syndrome. I can assure you, we feel nothing but gratitude to God for blessing us with Gracie.
What is one of the most challenging things about having a child with Down syndrome?
Balancing therapies and appointments, and reminding myself that Gracie will develop in her own time, when she’s ready!
If you knew someone who was told their baby would be born with Down syndrome, what would you tell them?
However you are feeling right now is OK, but I promise you, the fear and uncertainty is fleeting.