If you read our blog, you already know, we did not have a prenatal diagnosis. However many of my good friends did, and I would bet this guide would have been amazing for them during their pregnancies.
I have downloaded it myself, I continue to read about thoughts and feelings of others parents who also have children with 47 21st chromosomes. I love reading about other families and seeing their children's pictures, hearing about their challenges and milestones. I never grow tired of it.
I admire parents who bravely face all opposition and continue their pregnancies. I know that they usually have less people applauding their decision than those who support them. It is so sad that this happens, but it is human nature to reject the unfamiliar. I also believe that the people in opposition put themselves in our place and know they could never parent our children.
I know we had a flood of negative and ignorant comments following Meghan's birth. I remember some of them, others, I ignored, considering the source of the statement, rude people are usually rude about all aspects of life. I also saved every note, email, and letter that welcomed Meghan with love and acceptance. Those people did not know how much their support meant to us at during those raw first weeks.
It was not an easy transition, it was painful, it was scary, we did grieve the loss of the "perfect" baby girl we thought we were going to have. By the end of December my tears stopped (for the most part) and I had begun to accept my (our) new normal, I got the courage to explore what that life may be like. I finally bought books about Down syndrome and read them from cover to cover. I joined online groups, specifically:
And UpsNDowns http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/UpsNDowns/
In Downsheart I learned about AV Canal and Tetrology of Fallot, two of the most common heart defects for babies with Down syndrome. Meghan's heart issues, ASD, VSD, and PDA were minor by comparison, but still a cause for worry for our family.
Learn about heart defects HERE
UpsNDowns is a group of parents with mostly school aged children. From that group a few new moms like myself formed our own tiny support group. I continue to talk to two of those moms to this day. UpsNDowns was also the group I was visiting when I learned about Down syndrome adoption in 2006 . I visited Reece's Rainbow after reading an email. Reece's Rainbow led us to adopt two pretty amazing little girls.
My fervent wish for families who feel they cannot parent a child with Down syndrome is to consider adoption rather than termination. There are hundreds of families who are waiting with aching arms to love and raise babies with Down syndrome. By choosing to give your baby life, you are giving them a family who is prepared to handle medical issues, early intervention (portage), special education, IEP's, and challenges that come with parenting a child who learns a little differently. Families like ours.
Adopting Kara and Amanda after Meghan entered our lives is such a tremendous gift, they are challenges for certain; as I type Amanda is YELLING at the top of her voice, something new for her, she is "talking". However, I remember 4 boys who did the same thing, in unison, and often, so small children are small children, and sometimes they get rowdy!
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