I was expecting my second baby and things could not have been better. Sara was a little over 4 years and was so happy to have a new baby brother or sister to play with. I went to have my scan early because we were supposed to go on Holidays for a few weeks and I didn’t want to wait too long. I went by myself and through a long series of tests; we were told our baby had Down syndrome. Needless to say we postponed our holidays.
I was devastated; I came from a family of overachievers and believed in success in life. My husband was really upset because we had found out the baby was a boy. He overnight stopped picturing his son at his side, playing cricket and imagined a life with a boy who would never fill any of the dreams we had for him.
It sounds really harsh but unfortunately that is what everybody believed, our family, our friends and our son’s own parents. The pregnancy was not the best, some people asked us why we didn’t terminate and quite frankly we wondered. I guess we felt “guilty”, were overwhelmed by the news, and had no support.
We had bought the usual baby things but didn’t have the excitement that should have come with it. Our little girl ironically didn’t care. The only thing she asked was whether the baby would play with her and cuddle her. We should have learnt from her at that stage but we were not ready.
The labour was nice and easy and the moment I heard the baby cry I was a little scared. They put our son in my arm, my husband and I looked at each other stunned; he was beautiful. He looked like a baby; he had a lovely body, skin and little black hair. The midwife who knew we had difficulties dealing with his diagnosis offered to take him away, and to her astonishment, we refused. There was no way anyone would take my son away from me. He was mine, he was perfect and we would all grow together. From that moment onward, we “educated” ourselves, we read, we talked to doctors and we met up with other parents. Our son was doing all the things babies do and he was a source of joy. Our daughter enjoyed helping bathing, feeding and even changing Daniel’s nappies! When I think about all the ideas we had about our son’s condition and our life to be with him, I can help but realising how wrong we were and how happy we are with our two beautiful children.
Daniel is now four. He loves going to playgroup and is so caring with the other children. He loves clothes; he has a favourite Monster T-Shirt that he wears all the time. He goes into my bathroom and helps himself to my hair mousse to make his hair “like a kookaburra”. At night, when he is tired, he will lie in front of the TV with his favourite bear and will watch his favourite video “Napoleon”. He is my baby, my special boy. Sometimes he takes care of me when I am tired or upset, and cuddles all of us. Daniel loves to play with his daddy, they run around the garden and play fights…Daniel has been nothing but joy and progress. He talks well, his behaviour is loving and his has lots of friends. Of course, the day will come where he will have to attend a special school and some of his abilities may “slow down” but for us Daniel is nothing less than a perfect child and he has not prevented us from dreaming. Our dreams did change but only for the best, we learnt to be understanding, to have an unconditional regard for other people and to focus on strengths rather than weaknesses. If today we were told we were expecting a Down syndrome child, we wouldn’t have all the false ideas we had then, and we would start planning the birth of another very special baby and celebrate!
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