It takes only a fraction of a second to wrap your head around the fact you’re going to have a child. You and your partner’s heart swells in joy. You begin to imagine a bright future filled with laughter and good times ahead. However, not all things go as planned; you discover your unborn child is diagnosed with Down syndrome. Your happiness and joy transform into sadness and anxiety thinking of the mounting challenges they will face. This is normal for first-time parents to think about. You both will experience a handful of unexpected emotions ranging from confusion, anxiety, fear, to sadness. However, allow me to offer you encouragement; as parents, you will need to stay strong, stand tall, and open your hearts to give your child the best care possible.
What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is an incurable disease. According to statistics, one in every eight hundred newborns are diagnosed with the condition.
What exactly is it? Down syndrome is a genetic disease caused by an extra chromosome. Normally, the human body contains twenty-three chromosome pairs or forty-six threads. However, those with the condition have an extra thread in the twenty-first pair that increases the chromosome count to forty-seven.
How does an extra thread affect the body? Children are subjected to long-lasting impacts that include mental and physical retardation. Physical characteristics include a flat head, flat nose, ovoidal-shaped eyes, short neck and extremities, and stunted growth. Unfortunately, these unique traits contribute to teasing and bullying from other children which hurts the child’s feelings. Parents must offer support, care, and unconditional love as much as possible to overcome this.
Down Syndrome Complications
I think one of the most concerning complications about children with Down syndrome is their weakened immune system which may lead to increased risk of illnesses and infection. Additionally, an estimated 40-50% will suffer from a congenital heart disease and roughly 30% will experience thyroid dysfunction.
Nonetheless, it is without question parents will face mounting medical costs. However, no matter the cost, you are obligated to support them. Parents should take their child for medical check-ups and receive life-saving vaccines. Afterwards, observe for side effects. If there are side effects, act immediately as your child may not be able to communicate their symptoms with you.
Parents with Down syndrome children need to take care, observe, and assist them with developing necessary skills. These skills are imperative and increases their adaptability to society in the long run. Furthermore, parents should always exercise patience and never feel discouraged when trying.
I recently watched a video clip from the National Association for Down Syndrome of Italy, or also known as CoorDown. The video interviews children with Down syndrome to help answer important questions about the condition and educates expectant mothers with Down syndrome babies.
The most common question asked is, “What kind of life can my child with Down syndrome lead?” The children’s answers are heartfelt, full of love, and encouragement. They answer, “I can do many things. If you call me, I can run to you. You can hug me. If you ask me to say ‘I love you’ I can do that. I can go to school just like everybody else. Maybe one day I can travel somewhere far away on my own. I can look for jobs, earn money, and take my mom out to eat. Or maybe, I can use my money and rent an apartment on my own. Regardless of this condition, I can make my mom happy and make others happy, too. Plus, if it helps their moms happy to, that’s even better!”
When I finished listening to the clip, I nodded in agreement. I had nothing to argue. I do recognize and understand that life won’t be kind nor easy on them, but nothing is impossible. As parents, our primary goal is to help them overcome and achieve anything. Additionally, you must supply them with unconditional love, care, happiness, and support that allows them to become independent adults even when you are no longer by their side.
“People with Down syndrome can always live a happy life. This would be true if everyone helps them.