About 7 months ago we had a life changing situation occur. Our daughter, ingrid, was born with down syndrome. It wasnt until then that I became aware of a designated month to raise awareness of down syndrome and appreciation for those affected.

I was never in denial of Ingrid’s diagnosis, but I had decided that I didn’t want ds to be at the forefront of her existence. She is to grow up as a typical child. I’ve been planning for her to participate in activities that wont distinguish her disability, yet let her abilities shine prominent. Activities such as ballet, which will teach her better balance and patience; and possibly learn a musical instrument to help her learn discipline (as well as a form of therapy).

As I don’t want ds to be all ingrid is known for in her life, I feel its important to inform her as to what ds is. When she was born we were told to join a support group. To meet other families who could “feel our pain” or whatever. First of all, ingrid having ds is by no means painful for us to comprehend. Second, I didn’t think we could/would find a group that we would fit in with. Our way of parenting isn’t the standard. We chose not to vaccinate our kids, and we co-sleep. These, among other reasons, are why I hadn’t put us or ingrid out there. She should grow up as a kid, not just a girl with ds.

Recently I stumbled upon an organization for people with ds. I read about them, looked at their photos and members. Then I decided to join the group because every family of a child with ds seemed to feel like us. The preconceived idea that I had about parents of special needs children was gone. These people aren’t wallowing in the sorrows of the life they were given, they’re adoring every milestone and tiny accomplishments made. This is the group for us!! I never wanted to feel guilty for having a child diagnosed with a special need, yet has no physical problems as of now. I had read a book stating how many parents cant bear to “handle” their special needs kids. We have never felt that way and I didn’t want to be among those parents. Now that ive found a group more fitting to our family, I can totally appreciate what their group is all about.

October is down syndrome awareness month. I feel it’s important to be supportive of this cause, for Ingrid’s sake. This is a life that we are proud of and not afraid to show it. In the group, someone mentioned a buddy walk. I had never heard of this before, but was intrigued. I asked what this was and where. Well, the location of the walk put a stop to that thought until I found one in our town. I was so excited to find out there is a local buddy walk taking place. Its time to move out of my comfort zone and do something different. We’re participating in the walk & (hoping to) form a team to represent our gorgeous ingrid. I am really looking forward to being the mom who supports her kiddos in their endeavors and beyond. Now, I realize ingrid is only 7 months old and too young to understand what’s going on, but she will grow up looking at the photos of her family & friends supporting her every step! (Almost forgot..were having tshirts made for the buddy walk!)

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