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Dear Self,

Well, it has been almost 29 years since Kerry was born.  Although there were no indications from ultrasounds that  life would be a different journey – you  were not surprised when the doctors came to you after your C-section to tell you the news.  The last 2 months of this pregnancy seemed different.  The baby moved differently, not nearly as vigorous as the other babies.
Your first thoughts are how can I do this.  What I remember reading from my college textbooks was grim – low functioning, complete helplessness, short life span.   People would say “they are so lovable”  and I would think to myself – is that it?
You have never been more determined in all your life to stretch your abilities beyond your comfort zone.   You were on a search for help, guidance, answers.   In 1986, services were limited.  Knowledge was limited.  People felt badly that I had this beautiful baby.
Self,  kudos to you for moving forward.  I would tell you not to fret so much.  Balance your life with your family and managing this diagnosis of Down syndrome.  Don’t let it take over – it can, it will if you let it.  Be strong.  When others try to predict what your baby will be in the future,  move forward.  Do the best you can, as you do for your other children.  Provide opportunities for learning and help her to be sociable.   Help her to be independent.  Don’t feel guilty when you think you need to add more therapy time or constantly teach her.   She is learning from everyone.  It will be ok, and at some point, you will not focus on the label.   She is Kerry and you are her mom.
Sheila A. Cannon
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