Saturday, March 3, 2012

Down syndrome and unwanted apologies

This March 21st marks World Down Syndrome Day. It's 3.21 for 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. This day is going to rock this year. I am excited because it's a day of celebration in this house. We are celebrating and embracing Down syndrome, not only for Harper but for her other friends out there is blogland. This day is going to Harper, Fiona, Lily, Nella, Liddy, Ollie, Bree, Mia and all of the other kiddos that we are "friends" with. We love you and couldn't have made it this far in our journey without you!

It's not often that I think about Down syndrome.  It's the honest truth. I don't look at her in the morning when I wake her up and say, "good morning Down syndrome." I say "good morning Harper." Down syndrome is not often on my mind. I am even pretty good at not comparing her to other typical babies. And when I do I compare abilities because of her heart condition, not because of Ds. With or without Ds, Harper isn't a typical baby. She is a delight. She is sweet, loving, and damn cute. Her smile can melt a rigid heart and turn a frown upside down. If you look close she has one dimple and that one dimple alone will make you swoon.

Lots of people (not my readers because my readers are wise and intelligent) think Down syndrome is a curse or unwanted. I am a member of many Down syndrome groups on Facebook and friends with many other mamas of kiddos with Ds. Usually I enjoy these posts. However, I recently read a post of a member who is pregnant and recently had a Ds diagnosis. In many cases her "friends" apologized. That made me mad. Chalk it up to lack of sleep and influx of stress but I was so mad I cried. This mama-to-be is embracing Ds before it was even confirmed. She is one of us. Her and her husband are the chosen ones. They had big enough hearts to research the crap out of Ds before it was even confirmed and people are apologizing. Now I am not speaking for her and she will, most likely, not even read this post. But please do. not. ever. apologize to me because Harper has Down syndrome.

The day, and I mean the day, we found out that Harper could of Down syndrome we told our immediate family and a few friends. We also told them that our little girl was a baby first and foremost and Ds and heart condition came after that. We didn't want apologies. We wanted blessings and love. And we got it. 

Our doctors were magnificent. Yes they told us our options but only mentioned it once and didn't push. Madison is a great liberal city and progressive doesn't even begin to describe this town accurately. The doctors were accepting and began leading us in the right medical direction. They were as excited to meet Harper as we were. 

My point is please do not look at a parent of a child with a disability and feel sorry for them. Most likely, they don't want sympathy. Your energy can be spent elsewhere. Instead, look at those parents and remember they were chosen for this path. Just like you were chosen for yours. Every child is special and meant to be a child and to have loving parents.


Patti said...

last paragraph- PERFECT. Big hugs to you, mama !

Heidi Ehle said...

:) We love you and Harper as well, Kaiti!
And I agree with Patti....the last paragraph WAS perfection.

Annie @ The House That Jade Built said...

I love this and that sweet sweet Harper too - ugh I could eat her alive!!

Shona Bolden said...

Perfectly written. I still feel very angry when someone says that to me. thanks for sharing!

Stacy said...

I don't know if it's possible for Miss Harper to be any more beautiful. What a gorgeous little girl. My brother is going on 35 and has Down syndrome. He's the most awesome person in my life.