When William was born and we saw his face, we knew right away he had Down syndrome. In that very instant it’s like your whole world is crashing around you. No part of you thinks that it could possibly be a good thing. You wonder how it will affect his, then 15 month old, sister. All your visions of who he will be as a child, teen and adult vanish. There is nothing but grief. A beautiful baby was born but the fear of the unknown rips that joy from you.
I wish every day that I understood then what I do now. Having a child with Down syndrome opens your eyes and heart. Things that used to be a big deal, no longer matter. I am a better person just by being William’s mom. Watching him work so hard for every little milestone makes me truly appreciate every little thing that he can do. And it doesn’t stop with him. I appreciate my other children more as well. I have greater empathy for everyone and their struggles. I am able to live in the moment and appreciate what I have. I feel like it sounds like such a cliché but it is the truth.
The most important part of having a child with Down syndrome is how they impact their siblings. My daughters are both better people for having known William. I think the greatest example comes from my 8 year old. The other day she said to me, “When you are pregnant you don’t always get to have a baby with Down syndrome, so maybe when I’m a grown up I can go to an orphanage and get a baby boy with Down syndrome because that’s what I’m used to and I like it.” Her heart is that big just from loving her brother, who happens to have an extra chromosome.
Click below to read all the stories from Down Syndrome Awareness Month!