Beauty of Down syndrome

‘I don’t want this life. I’m not cut out for this!’ I heard ‘I’m sorry’ on the other end. Adrenaline began, my face got hot. Then the tears started to roll.’: Boy with down syndrome diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia

“Oliver was on vacation with his dad when I got the call. ‘He stopped walking.’ Weeks pass. His lymph nodes are swollen. Something just wasn’t right. I remember telling my boss, ‘I have to leave!’ Before I could even get a response, I was gone. I’m worried the ER doctor missed something. The doctor is quiet. I can see in her eyes she is trying to stay calm for me, but something is there. I scream. Deep down, she knows something I don’t.”

‘My baby was at ‘high risk’ of having Down syndrome. I mourned the baby I thought I was going to have, what she would look like, if I would be able to look after her.’: Couple ‘mentally prepares’ after Down syndrome diagnosis

“The sonographer saw a tiny little egg. It turned out that tiny egg was the one that was going to make me a mum. The very next day, I had a phone call, telling me my baby was at ‘high risk’ of having Down syndrome. Until she was born, it was easier to pretend everything was normal, so we did just that.”

‘We found a hole.’ His heart was beating. What did we miss?! I wasn’t a special needs mom. I didn’t have the qualifications for that.’: After 7 kids, 3 miscarriages, mom births baby with Down syndrome, ‘he is our extra special little man’

“‘His heart could be repaired,’ I thought. We could get past that, carry on. And then the doctor said, ‘This is very common with Down syndrome.’ That I didn’t want to hear. Surgery wasn’t going to fix that. I put it out of my mind. Our baby wasn’t going to have Down syndrome! Then the doctor said, ‘You have the option to terminate.’”

‘My daughter Penny is not a ‘mistake.’ She is perfection.’: Down syndrome mom explains the difference between ‘inclusion’ and helping special needs individuals ‘belong’

“People often feel awkward asking questions about my daughter. Penny gets sidelined from activities and events because they don’t know how to welcome her. The message of inclusion is, ‘We want you here with us.’ But belonging emerges from a deep desire to not just include the ‘other,’ but to love and be loved.”

‘My disabled child is not an ‘angel.’ He is not ‘celestial’ or ‘heavenly.’ He’s just like you, fully human.’: Down syndrome mom claims son ‘wasn’t sent here to teach you or me something’

“People often refer to my disabled son with angelic, heavenly labels. I’m his mom. I’ve seen things. I know better. When we project this ‘heavenly’ identity onto people with disabilities, we unknowingly strip their humanity and make them more ‘other.’ My son just wants to be loved for exactly who he is.”

‘Is this the last time I can kiss him?’ I’d just learned my baby had Down syndrome. Now, he was blue, floppy, and not breathing.’: Mom says baby with Down syndrome, heart defects has taught her to ‘focus on the positive things in life’

“5 minutes into our drive, he began crying but stopped. I found it odd. It was a cry I hadn’t heard before. The light turned red, I pulled over. In seconds, I was down on my knees in the middle of the road, holding my floppy baby. ‘God, this can’t be it. Please don’t take my baby away!’ Giving mouth to mouth, I screamed his name for him to wake up. When he ambulance arrived, Noah was going in and out of consciousness.”

‘Don’t take her home with you,’ I was told. ‘If you have other kids, she’ll be a detriment to them.’ How wrong they were.’: Mom keeps baby, now world’s first ‘working model’ with Down Syndrome

“I’d never taken Madeline to a fashion show before because she was always sick. When her health increased, we walked in as I thought to myself, ‘What have I done?!’ I knew full well my daughter would want to be on that catwalk, too. Sure enough, after the show, she turned to me and said, ‘Mom. Me. Model.’ I’m the type of mom to do whatever I can to make things happen. Little did I know what this all would turn into.”

‘Maryanne, will you marry me?’ I stood there, in awe of their love. Hate is just not in their DNA.’: Married couple now ‘longest living’ pair with Down Syndrome, ‘it’s nothing short of a fairy tale’

“Fate brought them together. They live in this bubble where they only have eyes for each other. They cannot bear to be apart. People doubted them, said it was ‘disgusting’ they were allowed to get married. 29 years later, disability or not, anything is possible with love. I think most of us could learn a thing or two from them.”

‘I got the test results. I felt I let my husband down. Like I somehow failed to give him the ‘perfect’ baby. The silence was deafening. I kept thinking, ‘Why me?’ Then I thought, ‘Wait, why NOT me?’

“I had a woman sob in my arms out of sympathy. I remember telling my husband, ‘Do you think we’ll ever laugh or be happy again?’ I figured I had 3 choices. Give up, give in, or give it everything I’ve got. I had a little boy growing inside me who I needed be strong for. I went with option 3.”

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