“To all of my Down syndrome mamas out there, you are incredible.
I commend you for all the ways you support your loved one. For how you choose to love them, have patience for them, and provide them with the world.
Your efforts are seen. You are heard. You are acknowledged. You are all beyond incredible.
Many parents today are overwhelmed upon finding out their child has Down syndrome, due to the negative connotation revolving around the genetic condition. And it blew my mind to find around 90% of mothers who find out their unborn baby has Down syndrome, end up getting abortions.
Luckily for us, my mother didn’t experience the technology to test for Down syndrome back when she was pregnant. Nor would she have made such a decision to get rid of us.
It wasn’t until we were born she discovered Michael has Down syndrome. Although she knew her life would change forever, she’s done an unbelievable job of stepping up and giving Michael the love and support he needs.
I’ve seen my mom go through it all while raising Michael. From wondering how he was going to be accepted at school, to taking care of him every time he was ill, to constantly putting his needs before her own.
She’s not afraid to take Michael out to let him see the world, and has never shown any evidence of regret for having a child like Michael.
Instead, she proves how much of a blessing it is to have someone as special as my twin brother.
I’m beyond grateful for my mama’s unconditional love. The moment we were born, she knew her twins were perfect. She knew at that moment, she was going to take care of and love Michael and I forever.
While growing up, I never questioned angrily why Michael was different. I simply understood. My mama always reassured me I had a loving, kind, and sweet brother who may just need some extra support. I’ll always remember her telling me that before bedtime every night when I was younger.
So many Down syndrome mamas I meet are concerned with how their children will be affected by their sibling with an extra chromosome. Wondering if the siblings will feel like they’ve been placed with a burden, if they will even get along, if they will grow up loving or despising their #homiewithanextrachromie.
I may not be able to speak for everyone, but I will say, I’m beyond grateful for having Michael in my life.
I’m grateful for how he’s taught me unconditional love, patience, forgiveness, responsibility, and seeing others for who they are. I’m grateful I’ve been given the chance to grow up early and learn how to support and take care of another human.
Has it been an easy road? Hell no. Would I like it any other way? Absolutely not.
I’ll be honest, there were times I wished I had a ‘normal’ sibling who could talk, who I could share my secrets with. Growing up with parents who were immigrants, we were raised in a more traditional way. My parents didn’t allow sleepovers growing up, or constantly hanging out with friends after school, because they had to help out with work on the farm. With that, I had a hard time making friends early in elementary school. I wished I could have Michael at the same school as me (we attended separate schools until high school). I was bitter Michael was at a different school, and I couldn’t share the same sibling experiences so many of my friends had.
While my relationship with Michael looks different, would I like it any other way? Absolutely not.
Because when you look beyond those waves, you will find the beauty behind Down syndrome. Growing up with Michael has been an adventure, and one I’m proud of exploring. The life lessons he’s taught me along the way are ones you can’t find anywhere else. And I am committed to providing a voice to those who may not have one.
Again, thank you mamas for all you do for your loved one. You are making a difference in the world.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Julia Toronczak of Beyond the Waves, and originally appeared on her blog. You can follow their journey on Instagram, Facebook, and their website. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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