I got an email from a local mom who had an emotional story to tell. It's something most moms thought about while they were pregnant, but probably never dealt with. Brandee did. She worried her unborn baby would have something wrong with him and that little boy was born with Down Syndrome. But Brandee quickly learned, her son's extra set of chromosomes did not mean there was something wrong with him. It was a blessing in disguise.
Here's Brandee's story:
My name is Brandee and my son, Terry, is 4 1/2. He has Down syndrome. Statistics are showing that with the increased availability of prenatal testing for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities, 85-90% of women are terminating their pregnancies once they find out their baby has Down syndrome.
Many do not realize that these children will and can grow to be productive members of society. They have developmental delays but are still able to walk and talk and dress themselves. There are individuals with Down syndrome who have graduated from college and live in society with minimal assistance.
Recent legislation has been passed that doctors have to give parents both the positive and negative sides of Down syndrome (where the negatives were really the only side presented) and provide resources and referral to the community Down syndrome support groups when giving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Times have changed, and no longer are parents encouraged to send their children to institutions and to pretend like they died. These kids are included in regular classrooms and are excelling. Their peers are experiencing the joys of having them as classmates and friends. Acceptance and awareness is becoming more the norm, and this improves the lives of all involved.
I have not met one person who has met Terry who doesn't instantly love him. He is lively and funny and so open with his emotions and his love. He finds the joys in the everyday things in life. He doesn't hold grudges. He laughs and loves and cries and gets mad. He is just like any other boy his age. He plays ball and wrestles with his dad, snuggles on the couch to read a book, tells us no, and gives hugs and kisses. I cannot imagine my life without him.
October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
Methodist Medical Center's new online healthcare program, MyMethodist eHealth, is a proud sponsor of this blog post. MyMethodist eHealth is the secure link to your doctor's office that lets you request appointments, order prescription refills, update your personal health record, and more. Sign up for MyMethodist eHealth here.