Today begins National Down Syndrome Awareness month, and the Get It Down: 31 for 21 challenge (the challenge is to blog each day of October, 31 days, to increase awareness about Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21).
Recent advances in medical, educational and social understanding of Down syndrome have given rise to an increasingly positive and optimistic view of what life can be like for those living with Ds. Real-life stories about individuals and families living with Ds are the best way to help others understand life with the condition. I blog and welcome readers into our lives with the hope of furthering understanding of Down syndrome, and helping others see how beautiful life is for us with Bridget as a part of our family.
The beginning for us was so wrong, in so many ways—like leaving the hospital without our baby, receiving consolation instead of congratulations, and being told of all the ways our new baby was “imperfect” as soon as she entered the world. I wish we would have known then how great it would all be now.
There is something so right about Bridget as Bridget. Before she was born, I had my own notion of what the words “Down syndrome” meant. The tough thing is that you don’t get the full picture until you are lucky enough to be around someone with Ds. Bridget’s uniqueness, her individual spark, is what makes her remarkable—Down syndrome or not. When I look at my daughter, all I see is perfection.
There are additional concerns and aspects in having a family member with special needs that are sometimes tough. But, parenting in general is tough. It can also be unbelievably rewarding.
While some people will make assumptions and predictions about what children with Down syndrome are capable of accomplishing or how they might be limited in life, it is impossible to predict the future for any child in terms of health, achievement or ability.
With Bridget, our family has been profoundly blessed. We have our feet firmly planted, and have a light in our lives that enriches us in a deep and meaningful way.
Looking at any of my children, I can’t predict today who they will become in the future and what they will attain, or enjoy. I don’t know the whole story of their lives yet—but I will love seeing those stories unfold. The same goes for Bridget. One thing’s for sure: she’s writing her own story, and I can’t wait to see who she becomes.
Here is a link to an i report I filed yesterday about Life with Down syndrome. My next post will be about our Buddy Walk, which took place this past Sunday. As a family, we are committed to sharing Bridget and what we are learning with her in our lives. Throughout the month, look for other posts from Chris and the kids as well.