I decided to compose a list of things I wish people knew about Down Syndrome...
1. That anyone can have a child with Down Syndrome, it's not something Jade or I did wrong, we just got very lucky! I was 28 and Jade was 30. We both were exercising and eating healthy.
2. As a Mom I worried that I would be disappointed with Ollie at birth if she had Down Syndrome. Immediately after I had her I held her and she gave me this sheepish smile - I melted. Nearly 9 months later I am not disappointed in her at all - she is amazing!
3. That the word retarded is outdated. It's now called cognitively delayed. Society has twisted the word retarded into a negative hate word. Please try to stop using it.
4. People with Down Syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of 46. Chromosomes are in pairs, but Ollie has 3 of the 21st chromosome.
5. That people with Down Syndrome look more like their family than others. Yes, Ollie has characteristics that she shares with other people with Down Syndrome, but she looks so much like her sister Aubrie & so much like her brother Everett.
6. That people with Down Syndrome are more alike than different. They are still people! They live, they laugh, they love, they have hearts, and souls. They deserve respect.
7. That Ollie will benefit from having siblings, and her siblings will benefit from her. I hope that my older children develop to be more caring, understanding, patient, compassionate people because of their sister. And I hope my older children push Ollie to be the best that she can be. I hope because of them she will work harder to achieve her goals.
8. People with Down Syndrome commonly have more health issues to worry about: heart defects, intestinal blockages, thyroid issues, leukemia, alzheimers, the list goes on and on - but with modern medicine & amazing Down Syndrome clinics it makes life medically speaking a lot easier. The Down Syndrome clinics make sure everything is being evaluted & taken care of.
9. Life with Down Syndrome is different, but it's just like anyone elses life. We never know what God is going to hand us. Our health, our children's health, nothing is certain & what may be today may change tomorrow. Life with Down Syndrome has made me acutely aware of this, and it has made me enjoy every single day to the fullest!
10. People with Down Syndrome do not suffer. I've read way too many times that they suffer. They don't. My goal in life is to make Ollie feel loved and adored, and I know she is. I also know that she loves us in return. It's in her eyes - it's undeniable!