Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Down syndrome doesn’t suck.

on August 22, 2014

I don’t prefer to give most people who berate and belittle people with Down syndrome any consideration.  But I just need you to understand something very important today.

Down syndrome doesn’t suck.

I’ve watched a lot of really, really crappy things happen to great people recently.  Pain beyond my ability to comprehend surges through the hearts of new parents kissing their babies goodbye too soon.  Families devastated by poverty, war, hate.  There are absolutely horrific events happening all over my community… all over the world.

And apparently, the birth of my baby girl is one of them. 

Recently, Richard Dawkins, a famous geneticist and author (among other things… a**hole being one of them) told a mother expecting a baby with Down syndrome that it would be immoral to continue with her pregnancy, given that she knew about the condition.  He said that people should try to “reduce suffering” when they can and that bringing a child like Tessa into the world isn’t right because she will suffer and won’t contribute to society.

But, Mr. Dawkins, what you have failed to realize, is that  in her eight months of life, she has already contributed to society.  Probably in a better way than you ever could. 

Tessa’s smiles light up the faces of family and friends who have long been searching for something to smile about.  Some of her loved ones glow in a way they never have before when they see her.  The very feat of her existence, beating obstacle after obstacle, has inspired people to do more, try harder, go farther.  She has changed the way teachers do their jobs, influencing the education and experiences of an incomprehensible number of children.  She has helped people forge relationships that haven’t been strong before.  She has been in the world for 247 days and she has made an impact.

Tell me that our world doesn’t need more positivity?  More love?

I know a lot of people with 46 chromosomes who suffer or who don’t contribute to society.  In fact, they sometimes make our world worse.  You made it worse.  You perpetuated an outdated, unjust stereotype.  You devalued the worth of my child.  You scared a mom who doesn’t need to be scared.

People who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome deserve accurate information about their child’s future.  If you can’t give accurate information, please don’t give any.  Next time, send them to the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network.

Rant over.  Special Needs Mom Law #3:  Let it go. 

Done.

photo (10)

She is so loved. 

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7 responses to “Down syndrome doesn’t suck.

  1. You’ve got me in tears.

    That is all.

  2. Andrea says:

    Tessa has brought such joy to our lives. Maggie, this post really is beautiful! Unfortunately, not everyone can see beauty in difference. How terribly sad and shallow. How blessed we are to have you and Miss Tessa in our lives.

  3. Love this! It’s hard not to respond to the ignorance of some & then truly just feel bad for them. He’s obviously never had any contact with the Tessa’s & David’s of the world – how sad for him 😦

    • Maggie says:

      That’s so true, Jill. I struggle all the time with whether I should respond or just let it go… and I got caught on a cranky day. 🙂 But I really feel like I’m on a mission to change the stigma!

  4. Joanne says:

    When I go for a doctor’s appointment, my GP doesn’t even acknowledge Peanut. Sure, she’s not a patient of hers (the baby’s Paediatrician is wonderful), but I don’t understand how she can see her and not even register a smile…And it’s not as though she doesn’t like children, as I’ve seen her with other patients’ kids, and she’s always engaging.

    But then I realized, she doesn’t *want* to see Peanut. As far as she’s concerned, Peanut is a non-person. After I went for a post-partum checkup, she looked at Peanut sleeping in her car seat, and kind of gave me a sad look, and sighed.

    Sigh.

    I could have chosen to have her as Peanut’s doctor, but that one exchange made me realize that I want someone who’s going to see my little one as just that – a little one. A burping, laughing, cooing, bundle of (mostly) joy. Her paediatrician erupts into squeals whenever she sees her, and can’t resist giving her squeezes.

    I don’t have to tell you how much that means to me.

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