Discovering your baby will be born with Down Syndrome, or finding out your baby has Down's after he or she is born, can bring an array of emotions. It is something you may or may not be something for which you can prepare. Here are 12 things you may experience if your baby has Down Syndrome.
12 Hopelessness that Turns to Happiness
Receiving the diagnosis of Down Syndrome can be life-altering. Upon hearing the news, you may feel nervous, frustrated, hopeless. This sense of hopelessness is common in mothers (and fathers) of babies with Down Syndrome. You may feel hopeless in that you did not protect your baby from being stricken with this syndrome (even though it is something that is out of your control), you feel hopeless for your family that has to take on this burden, and you are hopeless for the future of your child. This is normal. Rest assured, if you feel this way, it is short lived.
You will slowly begin to embrace your life as a mother of a child with Down Syndrome, and that hopeless feeling will turn to happiness as you find this joy in your new role.
11 A Beautiful Baby
The moment you lay eyes on your newborn, you will be in love. Your brand new offspring is a baby first, and a beautiful one at that. You will do all the things you would do with a baby who did not have Down's, oohing and ahhing over your sweet little one, trying to determine who he or she resembles the most in the family, and lots and lots of kisses. Take in that yummy newborn smell and enjoy.
10 First Appearances
You were likely prepared for the physical differences that Down Syndrome brings. Most children with Down's are born with almond shaped eyes, flat nose, small ears, and/or short neck. You will find yourself adoring these qualities, especially as your little one looks at you with those sparkling, full of love, almond shaped eyes.
9 Health Complications
Unfortunately, some, but not all, babies born with Down Syndrome will endure health complications that may stay with them their entire life. The most common health concerns of those with Down's are heart defects, respiratory problems, digestive issues, and hearing and vision problems. Luckily, there are doctors and specialists who work primarily with people who have Down Syndrome, and with such programs like early intervention, many of those medical issues be properly handled so the individual can lead a happy life. The life expectancy for those with Down's has also increased over the years.
8 Desire to Breastfeed
As a new mom, you may already feel the need to breastfeed your newborn. If you are able to do so, there many advantages to breastfeeding any baby, but babies with Down Syndrome really benefit. As they are prone to infections, breastfeeding helps build their immune system, warding off many of those infections. It also helps with their muscle tone in their mouth and jaw, which can later assist in better speech development.
7 A Team of Doctors
Whereas most babies only have to visit one pediatrician for their check ups, babies with Down Syndrome will have many doctors to visit to ensure they are growing to their full ability. It is important for those with Down Syndrome to see specialists in the area of Down Syndrome. These doctors will also help determine what type of services your child needs, such as speech therapy or physical therapy. There will be many, many doctor appointments, but it will be something you will grow accustomed to.
6 Lots of Support
In addition to the support you receive from your child's team of doctors and therapists, you will also find support in the form of other parents who, like you, have a child with Down's. With the internet these days, it is very easy to locate support groups, whether they are online or meet in person. You can even find playgroups for your little one with other kids who have Down Syndrome.
5 Reaching Milestones
You may be fretting over your little one meeting milestones, such as smiling, crawling, walking, and more, but rest assured that he or she will reach these milestones! Those will Down's sometimes have delayed development, but with the help of therapy, they will do all the things you look forward to seeing them do. Just watch out when they start to run!
4 Learning to Adapt- or Not
You will quickly learn that there are many things you CAN keep doing and that having a child with Down Syndrome will not limit you whatsoever. Every child with Down's is different, just as every child without Down's is different. You will learn the capabilities of your child and adjust what you must. Do not simply assume you cannot do something just because your child has Down's. Instead, look at it as something you SHOULD do because your child DOES have Down's!
3 The Looks from Strangers
You may feel nervous, ashamed, singled out, or more when you first take your baby with Down Syndrome out into the public eye. Do not let those feelings stop you, instead, try to overcome them. There is no reason to feel that way. Sure, you will get glances, stares or I'm so sorry from complete strangers, but you will also get praises and be treated no differently from strangers too!
And many parents of kids with Down's report how social their kids are- so get them out and about around other people. Teach them to not be ashamed of who they are, and just smile back at those who stare.
2 Realizing There are No Limits
As your baby grows, you will discover their intense zest for life! They will want to do anything and everything a so-called typical child would do, go to school, play sports, ride a roller coaster. If you allow this growth to occur naturally, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that the sky is the limit for a child with Down Syndrome!
1 Bright Future
The future is bright for those with Down Syndrome! Not only is the life expectancy the longest it has been in years, but socially and academically those with Down's are thriving. No longer is this syndrome a reason to cast away an individual. Those with Down's are often mainstreamed in regular classes in regular schools, attend college, and many even get married one day.