Every expecting parent prays that their newborn will be born healthy, normal and well. However, not there are billions of people on earth and many ways we experience our human experience. If your newborn baby has recently been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, you might feel like all of your hopes and dreams as a parent have just collapsed down on top of you. Your baby can grow up to have a loving home, a fulfilling life, and many great times ahead. If you are not familiar with Down Syndrome then this may all be fearsome. However, try to separate the fear of the unknown from fearing for your child’s future. Thankfully, you’re about to embark on an amazing journey. Sure, there will be challenges and many unknowns. However, that comes with all parenting. Here’s what you should know when your baby is diagnosed with Down syndrome.
You’re a Great Parent
While it’s true that some unhealthy pregnancy behaviors can increase the odds of delivering a baby with Down Syndrome, there are millions of Down Syndrome babies born each and every day to parents who did everything by the book. Your baby is not defective and there should not be a feeling of loss. Sure, there are health and behavioral challenges. However, that is the case with millions of children that are on all sorts of different spectrums. Down Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that can happen completely randomly. Don’t make the mistake of agonizing over everything you did during your pregnancy that could have potentially “caused” the Down Syndrome. Your child was not born this way because you had a piece of sushi in your second trimester. Focus your energy on what you can do to be best prepared to help your baby succeed.
Help is Available
You don’t have to do everything alone. Just like you may take your child to speech therapy if they have a lisp or tied tongue. There are more resources than ever today for children with Down Syndrome, from in-home occupational therapy to special schools and summer camps. Raising a child with mobility, verbal, or behavioral challenges used to be very misunderstood and isolating. However, our modern society has thankfully come a very long way when it comes to making the world a more hospitable and comfortable place your child. You can connect with other parents online.
Focus on Your Baby, Not a Diagnosis
If you think that you have to let go of all the hopes and dreams you had for your baby due to their Down Syndrome diagnosis, you’re grossly mistaken. Adults with Down Syndrome are thriving in today’s world, thanks to modern techniques in education, therapy and social support.
In fact, many adults with Down Syndrome lead lives that are infinitely more exciting and enriching than their so-called “normal” counterparts. Special Olympic athlete Jon Stoklosa is an elite powerlifter who’s made a name for himself across the world. The stunning Madeline Stuart of Australia is an internationally-recognized fashion model and activist who’s shattering the boundaries of what’s considered attractive in society. Jamie Brewer is an award-winning actress who’s wowed audiences on shows like American Horror Story and Switched at Birth.
Don’t think of your child’s Down syndrome diagnosis as a tragedy. Instead, understand that you are embarking on a journey that will enrich your life more than you ever thought possible.