Happy Mother’s Day. This year, it will be different for many of us; spending today apart from our loved ones. For many of us our mums have been and continue to be a key source of support and as parents ourselves, we worry about how this time will affect both our parents and our children. Whilst social distancing and isolation may make support harder to access, please know you are not alone. The Down Syndrome community online is thriving and always here for you. At the bottom of the post we have linked some websites and support groups.
To all the Mums out there, we celebrate you today and to anyone who is finding today particularly difficult, we are sending you a virtual hug.
As a new mum, finding out your baby has Down Syndrome can be daunting and unexpected. This year for Mother’s Day we asked WCAT mums what advice they were given when their little one was born and what they would like to pass on to a new mum, here’s our letter.
Dear New Mum,
Congratulations on the safe arrival of your beautiful baby. You are about to embark on an amazing adventure. Please don’t worry and don’t be scared. Your baby is a baby just like any other; they are beautiful and they are loved.
Its ok to feel what you’re feeling. Everything.
Having a child with Down Syndrome might not be what you were wanting, but sometimes surprises can be even better than what you expected to get. Every child is a blessing and if you look for it, you will see joy and beauty in every situation. Give yourself the grace to grieve the loss of your typical child dreams, with the knowledge of the absolute, pure joy your child will bring.
You have been given a gift that will teach you more about yourself, love and the world around you. Do not fear not being enough for the journey ahead of you. You are so much stronger than you think and your beautiful child will teach you more than you could possibly imagine. The journey will be a little bit different to what you were expecting but it is such an incredible one.
You can breastfeed if you want to. Believe in yourself and do what works for you. Get to know your child, they will show you the way. Commit what you can to their foundation but most importantly love them.
Try not to look too far ahead. Take it a day at a time and enjoy a more scenic route. Cherish every moment and enjoy every milestone. Time really does fly and you will have your little best friend with you every step of the way. Your little one will show you what life is truly about. All you need is to love your amazing little baby, they will teach you great things, relax and enjoy every second.
Everything will be ok.
Your baby will change the world for the better. They will bring family closer together and find you friends you will treasure. You will laugh more, love more, be more. There will be highs and lows, but the highs are so, so high.
Your other kids will be ok. They will be an advocate for your new baby just as much as you will be. They will love their sibling fiercely. This will make them a better, more compassionate human.
Don’t lessen your expectations. Treat your child the same as you would without the extra chromosome. Never underestimate what your child can do, they will reach for the stars. They may need a little more time, patience, humour, practise, encouragement and belief than you ever thought you were capable of giving another human being. But you’ll give freely because they are your son or daughter and you’ll love them for being just that. Down syndrome is the glitter on top of their personality that will makeit shine even brighter. Don’t compare and don’t rush, they will learn in their own time.
Remember to take 5 minutes for yourself. You are not alone. Reach out to those around you. You may not realise it straight away but you’ve become part of a special community full of love, support and laughter. Welcome to the club.
Head up, be proud, you’ve got this.
Congratulations on becoming one of The Lucky Few.
Love, WCAT x
For information and support:
Down’s Syndrome Association https://www.downs-syndrome.org.uk
Wouldn’t Change A Thing Parent Support Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/801281006738525/
Future of Downs http://www.futureofdowns.com
Positive About Down Syndrome https://positiveaboutdownsyndrome.co.uk