Wednesday, January 4, 2012

#5 - Things I wish I'd known about Down Syndrome 6 years ago

Of all the fears I had in the early days, the biggest was definitely "what if I can't handle raising a special needs child".  I'm pretty sure every mother has this fear whether they get the diagnosis prenatally or post delivery.  One thing I learned about myself, having Cate in my life, is that I'm stronger the I think and when I'm not, I have an awesome support system to help me.  Add to that the fortunate fact that Cate did not come into this world packed with problems I had to solve right away.  I figured it all out as we both grew.  Our life is really not any different than any other family.  Both Ric & I work full time, the kids go to daycare and school, on weekends we do family stuff like the playgrounds or the zoo and twice year or so we go on vacations to the beach or to visit family. (Don't tell Cate but this year's vacation might just include a day or two at Disney!) We have a busy schedule with sports practices, dance classes, and doctor's appointments to juggle, but so does everyone else I know.  Cate still gets private therapy, but its been a part of our lives since she was 6 weeks old so we manage it just like anything else.  We've jumped a lot of hurtles in the last 6 years and once in a while I've stumbled.  But as with any kid, parents are going to make mistakes and the best you can do is correct them and do better next time.  If I would have know my life would be this "normal" back when Cate was born it would have saved me a lot of tears and worry.
So my biggest piece of advice to new moms of children with Down Syndrome is:
Build yourself a network because it takes a large village to raise a child with Down Syndrome -doctors, therapists, friend who can listen because they love you, and friends who can give advice because they've been there.   You don't have to do it all at once, you'll learn as time goes on that you can definitely do this!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice! I see the world with completely new eyes since Samantha was born, and the eyes that held fear and worry during the early days now only see the joys of everyday life, possibility, growth, achievement. It's funny that now, as our girls are only 5 and 6 years old, we're the sage parents of the "older" kids. I have to laugh at that, but somehow we've become the guides with some of the answers. :-)