Dear Mom or Dad,
Let me start by acknowledging that you are likely experiencing a wide range of emotions. Shock, fear, worry, and disappointment may be among them. You may be wondering what having a child with Down syndrome means for you and your family, and what his or her life will be like. All of those feelings are normal. Please don’t feel any guilt or shame if you are feeling any of them.
As the parent of a seven-year-old son with Down syndrome, I want to encourage with you. First, we were surprised to learn our son was born with Down syndrome. We were first-time parents and had no experience raising a child, much less a child with special needs. However, after being on this journey for almost eight years, I can say that Noah (our son) is one of the biggest blessings of our life. We love him and are thankful that he is our son. He has more in common with typical kids than you may expect. He likes to go swimming, ride roller coasters, and jumping on our trampoline.
I know you may wonder if you can do this, but I want to let you know that you can. There has never been a better time in the history of the world for a child to be born with Down syndrome. There are numerous resources, support networks, research, therapies, and friendships that are here to help you in your journey. (Including this Facebook group.)
In fact, we recently started an origination called Hope Story, and we hope that through it, every woman whose child has received a Down syndrome diagnosis can connect with a parent a little future along in their story (we call these parent’s Hope Advocates). We want every woman to have a friend who can tell them “I know what you’re going through” and to let them that they aren’t alone.
Check out the video below to get an idea of how this process works.
If your child has received a Down syndrome diagnosis and you’d like to connect to a parent of a child with Down syndrome, please contact us.
I don’t want to sugarcoat it though. Parenting is hard work. Raising any child (regardless of how many chromosomes they have) takes a tremendous amount of patience, love, and sacrifice. Certainly raising a child with Down syndrome comes with unique challenges, but those challenges are eclipsed by the joy your child will bring to your life.
I love all of our sons so much. As I mentioned, being a father to Noah (our son born with Down syndrome) is one of the greatest blessings of our life. He is joy to us and to so many others. I’m proud to be “Noah’s Dad, and I wouldn’t change one chromosome on him!
If you’re feeling a mix of emotions right now, I want to let you know that those feelings will likely go away shelty after your child is born, and they will be replaced with feelings of love.
You can do this, and you aren’t alone! There truly has never been a better time in the history of the world for a child to be born with Down syndrome!
Be sure to subscribe to Hope Story’s mailing list to stay connected to some of the things we are working by clicking here.
Rick Smith is the Founder & President of Hope Story, a Texas non-profit corporation that promotes the beauty and value of all human life by providing hope and encouragement to families whose child has just received a Down syndrome. For over seven years Rick has created awareness about raising a Child with Down syndrome worldwide via his blog and social media channels. Rick’s passionate about helping people use their story to help make a difference in the lives of others. He lives in Dallas, TX with his wife of over a decade, Abbie, and his three children, Noah, Jaxten, and Koen.