Oh, beautiful Clara Noelle. I first met Clara’s mom, Mandy, when I shared about my own experience as a parent of a child with special needs at a local early childhood meeting last December. I remember thinking how adorable Mandy was as an expectant mama. Just a few weeks later, I received a message from her. Mandy’s daughter had been born and, unexpectedly, she came with a very special extra chromosome. I don’t think that our meeting that day in early December was coincidental. I had a similar encounter before Sam was born, and I truly believe both were orchestrated by a God who loves us and loves his sweet babies. So, it is with such joy that I share Clara and her family with you today! You can find Mandy and Clara (now 9 months old) on Instagram as @mandyjopeterson.
Clara adores spending time with her sisters Ellery (6) & Lucy (4). She loves to look at books with them, listen to their stories, play with them and loves when they sing to her. Watching our girls together makes me so happy. When Clara was born and we were given her diagnosis of Down Syndrome, one of our first thoughts were to wonder how this would impact her sisters. Our worries vanished quickly as the girls instantly adored Clara. They are thrilled with each new tiny milestone she meets and every giggle and smile she gives them. They are the proudest of sisters and cheer her on at every chance they get. We have talked a little about her extra chromosome and how she has to work a bit harder than most babies do to meet her milestones. I was so nervous to bring it up to them initially, but it hardly phased them and they love her intensely regardless of how quickly she is able to do anything.
Having Clara has also enhanced the desires and goals I have for my family. My greatest wish is for my girls to be compassionate, kind and loving. And that they are strong enough to stand up for what is right, especially if that means they are standing up for someone who may not be able to do that for themselves.
What have been good resources for you?
From the first days of Clara‘s birth we have been welcomed into the amazing Down Syndrome community. They have reached out to us when we were besides ourselves. My greatest resource in this new journey has been a Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network Rockin’ moms group on Facebook. I have been introduced to so many moms through DSDN who have offered support at every turn. Sharing this journey with others facing similar challenges has meant more to me than I can explain.
Check back tomorrow as we continue celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Month or click below to read all of our previous posts.