I personally don't have a lot of experience with Down Syndrome, and honestly didn't give it a second thought until I became an expectant mother myself. Even then it wasn't a big factor in our minds, mostly due to ignorance but also due to choice.
When it came time in our pregnancy to have the down syndrome screening test, it was the first time I really thought about the condition. And to be honest, I had no idea what to think!
In the end we didn't do much research into the screening or into the condition, we decided to follow our hearts. We knew taking the test came with a small chance of miscarriage, and there was no way we were willing to take even the smallest risk! This was the most special time in our lives so far, and we didn't want it tainted.
I didn't want to think about miscarriage, I didn't want to be waiting for results, for which I wasn't sure should be the desired outcome. In my mind, our baby is our baby. In whatever condition she is born, she is ours. And we will love her unconditionally and do what ever it takes to be her parents.
Since making that decision, we had complete peace for the whole of our pregnancy. And since that time, we have also come to know a beautiful family. One of the most beautiful families I have ever met, and they have an adopted daughter/sibling with Down Syndrome.
It has been such a pleasure to get to know this young lady, and I absolutely LOVE the amount of love that not only her family has for her, but everyone she encounters. She has touched everyone's lives in a special way, and no one makes any secret of it! Love and admiration are showered over her and in return she hugs you without holding back, plays with you, jokes with you, laughs with you, loves you and encourages you.
This is the experience I have had with Margaret, and I am so grateful to have met her. I am so grateful to her family for adopting her and giving us all the privilege of getting to know her. And I really hope that by sharing a tiny bit of her story, many parents, expecting or considering adoption, will not overlook a beautiful life because of a label medical professionals and society as a whole have given them.
I give so much credit to her family for raising her and giving her such an advantage in her life (and by advantage I just mean unconditional love and acceptance!). They have enabled her to live her life to the fullest and to feel safe and secure in her identity. Not all people with Down Syndrome are given this privilege. Let's change that.
Karen & Margaret's Story
Written by Karen, Margaret's sister
Today I watched a programme called "a world without Down's syndrome" which explores how our society is increasingly terminating children with this diagnosis. We now have such sufficient screening tools that we can diagnose this early on and choose to terminate the child if they have this disability. What breaks my heart is that approximately 9 out of 10 women choose to have their baby terminated when they find out.
I'm not saying that women shouldn't have "the choice" but I also feel that parents are being given all the wrong information about this diagnosis. Medical staff are almost allowing us to "fear" the idea that our baby may have this. It's being treated and talked about like it's a disease rather than a person!!
I just don't want people to inherit the fear that the medical profession is allowing us to adopt. How your child is more likely to have dementia or heart problems etc when they're older. Yet we are all in some kind of percentage for potentially getting something! People think of Downs like it's going to be a burden but actually it's the complete opposite. I know many parents who have children with this diagnosis and they would be far from complete without them.
My sister lives a normal life and the thought that it could have been taken away from her if she was born in this country is frightening. Mums don't need to fear or dread having a baby that is just a little different from you or I. Yet 40% of women are aborting babies with Downs right up to birth!! That breaks me. People with Downs actually have hearts that we in this world need more of not less! I just hope and pray that the decisions mothers make will be more thought out and that the doctors speak more of the positives not just the potential negatives of having a child with this diagnosis. Those that are able to speak out that have Downs are having to fight for their right to live when they are Gods child just as much as we are.
Although my sister was adopted, my parents effectively had "the choice" to have a typically developing child! It brings a tear to my eye to think about life in this world without her.
People with Down's syndrome are incredibly special. My sister has taught me how to love and live my life like no one else can. She's changed me and my family in ways that we would never have experienced without her. She has the brightest of laughs, the most beautiful smiles and the most amazing heart. She knows just how to cheer you up, to boss you around like she's your mother and to steal dads slippers when he isn't looking!!
I guess all I want to say is...don't be afraid at this diagnosis. You have nothing to be afraid of!! Yes there may be trials and there may be difficulties but aren't there unpredictabilities with every child? I know I can't account for every family but our family have had nothing but wonderful memories and a beautiful loving sister/ daughter that is a part of the Woodley family. You can be given all the statistics in the world about what your child could and could not have if you decide to "keep" a child with Down's syndrome. But couldn't we all experience an illness or trauma that perhaps our parents would never have expected? We are in danger of screening out a type of person, not a disease or a debilitating illness. A type of person!! One with just one more chromosome than you or I!
My sister lives a happy and fulfilling life. She works, dances, shops and yes, ok she has an insane obsession with DVDs!! But most of all, she completes mine and my families lives and warms our hearts. And without her we would not have lived or shared the same kind of happiness that we all do now. Please just seek support or talk to families and just think about it more. I don't want women to fear what many in the world don't understand.
Down's syndrome - love shouldn't count chromosomes ❤️
Lots of Socks www.worlddownsyndromeday.org
We want to get people talking on WDSD, 21 March 2017. We can do this if we all wear #lotsofsocks.
BUT NOT JUST ANY SOCKS…wear:
- our Official LOTS OF SOCKS socks.
- other brightly coloured socks, long socks, printed socks, 1 sock.
- If you do not normally wear socks, then wear them.
- AND WHY STOP AT SOCKS? Wear our LOTS OF SOCKS t-shirts, WDSD t-shirts or other brightly coloured clothing.
The choice is yours, but we ask you to join us wearing something which people will ask you about so that you can tell them all about WDSD. It is easy to do, so whether you are at home, nursery, school, college, university, work, play, travel, holiday or anywhere, join in!
On 21 March, wear #lotsofsocks and invite all your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.