Before I had a baby with Down syndrome, I probably would have rolled my eyes when I realized October is Down syndrome Awareness Month. I mean, aren’t we aware? Why do we need another awareness month, especially for a condition with no cure?
Yeah, I wasn’t very empathetic then. Down syndrome changed that. Down syndrome changed many things.
Down syndrome has made our lives fuller.
Our schedules are full of doctor appointments. Our days are full of therapy exercises. But our hearts are full of a fierce kind of love we didn’t know existed and of a hope we’ve only read about.
Here’s what I want you to know this Down syndrome awareness month: Our son’s life is not a tragedy. Our lives are not a tragedy. None of us are living a less than life because of Anderson’s extra 21st chromosome.
There is no need to give us a sympathetic look or say to our son, “poor baby” when you learn of his diagnosis. There’s nothing poor about Anderson. There’s nothing poor about us. We are some of the richest people I know. We have, in part, Down syndrome to thank for that.
Down syndrome doesn’t define our son. It doesn’t define us as a family. But it is teaching and molding us into the people we were meant to be.
We know some things will be more difficult for Anderson because of his diagnosis. But all of us have strengths and weaknesses. And in Anderson’s nine short months of life, we’ve also seen the power that extra chromosome possesses- for him and for us.
Because of Down syndrome, we care more, worry less and both love and fight harder.
There’s nothing down about that.
“We have this hope as an anchor to the soul…” Hebrews 6:19