So far, it hasn’t been as bad as ‘they’ said it would be. Down Syndrome is not the future you would choose for your child, but it’s not the end of the world, either.
When I was told that there was a 1-in-12 chance that the baby I was carrying would have Down Syndrome, many people (medics and family members especially) were of the opinion that if I went ahead with the pregnancy my life would be over; I would have nothing to look forward to for the rest of my days but the incessant daily grind of being a carer, trying to meet the all-consuming needs of a disabled child.
I didn’t believe them.
So, with the life of my unborn child at stake, I closed my ears and dug in my heels.
I read many things that address the issues concerning ‘Special Needs’ families, some offering information and advice, some offering moral support and information. Many of the latter use phrases like ‘Warrior Mom’ and ‘Momma Bear’; they talk in highly emotive tones about the day-in-day-out struggle to meet their child’s needs and battle the prejudice of others. they are uplifting and inspiring; they make you sob into your morning coffee. While I have no doubt that many parents out there will find their experinces reflected in these articles, they do not reflect the experiences of all ‘Special Needs’ families. They do not reflect mine.
So, I wanted to offer an alternative view. I hope it will be a reassuring one. Because so far, life with an extra chromosome has been pretty ordinary.