Down Syndrome Babies are Children, Not Tragedies
Submitted by Valle
For weeks after my son was born with Down syndrome
people told me how sorry they were. I understood that they meant well, but it was kind of tough to take. I'd just had a baby; maybe he wasn't the baby I was expecting, but this was my son. So when people said, "I'm sorry," something in me wanted to snatch my adorable red-headed baby away and say, "You can't look at him." It got to the point where I
was sorry, because I figured if everyone else was so sad, maybe I should be, too.
But then someone hooked me up with an online group of parents of kids with Down syndrome. When I posted a birth announcement, my inbox was flooded with congratulatory emails, not one "I'm sorry" among them. And suddenly I felt a huge weight lift, and I knew we were going to be OK.
It can be a really confusing time when a baby is born without all the requisite fingers, toes or chromosomes. The parents are scared, friends are shocked and all the cute congratulations cards in the gift shop just don't seem right. So people say they're sorry, or worse, they stay away.
But the parents are still parents: They've just had a baby and they are as in love with that baby as any other parent. So if someone you know has a baby with a disability go visit and bring cards, flowers, all the usual celebratory stuff. Tell the parents how beautiful their baby is. Tell the mom that that's one lucky baby to have her as a mother. Tell her you realize that this must be a surprise but that you're there to help. Ask questions about the disability, or offer to do research for the family.
Just don't say you're sorry.