I wanted to let you know that something is going to happen later this evening that is going to shock and stun you, so brace yourself. Remember that blood test you took on Monday to check for chromosomal abnormalities because you’re ten weeks pregnant? That test that they highly encouraged you to take because you’re over 35 years of age? That test that you haven’t thought twice about since? Well, you’re going to get a phone call telling you that it has come back positive for Trisomy 21, otherwise known as Down syndrome.
I know you. You’ll be shocked and emotionless at first but remember that things usually sink in for you by the next day. Then you will grieve for weeks. So now look what you’ve done. You were hesitant about having a third child in the first place but you took a chance and now look what happened. You’ve ruined everything. I know that’s how you feel because you know nothing about Down syndrome but take a deep breath because those statements couldn’t be farther from the truth, trust me.
Here’s some advice; allow the grieving process to happen. You need to connect. You need to do research and educate yourself. I know it’s scary to face but don’t be afraid. Find the resources because they are out there and they’re ready to help you. Your community may have an organization. The Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network is also a great place to start. Connecting with experienced moms is a must; they will tell you all about life with Down syndrome. Soon enough you’ll learn that their life isn’t tragic but actually rather normal, maybe just a little different than what you expected. Keep in mind that every child with Down syndrome is different and has his or her own challenges and talents. Remember that each child you have takes you on a different journey.
I can tell you that your pregnancy will be quite uneventful as well as your delivery. You’ll go home on the third day, breastfeeding, and carry on as a new family of five. She will look just like your other two girls and have dark hair and eyes green like the sea. She will teach you about patience and what really is important in life. You’ll gain a new perspective on what to worry about and what isn’t worth your time. She’ll enhance your family more than you ever imagined. She’ll be the missing piece that you never knew was missing and your family will feel whole. In fact, as I write this letter, she’s sitting next to me, your sidekick, happily flipping through a book, a lovable, and curious two and a half year old that will be the light of your life.
Tina Szocik lives in Boston with her husband and three daughters, Carina, Lia, and Gigi rocking her extra chromosome. In her spare time she blogs at www.threewithatwist.comto help spread awareness about Down syndrome.
This letter is part of DSDN's October Down Syndrome Awareness Month campaign. We asked our members to write a letter to themselves during the time they received the diagnosis. Do you know a parent with a child under the age of 4 who needs connections and support? Let DSDN help and get started here.