Our story is a little different than a lot of other families in the Down Syndrome community. We knew about Peanut’s diagnosis before we had any emotional connection to her at all. Honestly, we could have easily said no to taking her…a few others did. But because of this, I often wonder if Peanut’s birth family knew, and if they didn’t, did the doctor’s contribute to their fears?
I have heard countless stories of how a family received a diagnosis. Starting from in-utero where abortion is instantly pushed. One mama told me that every doctor’s appointment she went to, the push for abortion was there. She was told all about how her child would struggle, the health issues, the problems that will come. They couldn’t understand why she just wouldn’t listen and “get rid of the problem.”
I’ve heard stories of parents finding out after birth that DS was now a reality to them. Some have shared stories of the doctors being scared to even look at them. They give the diagnosis as if it is a death sentence. Leaving the family feeling lost and alone, and “stuck” with a broken child.
Did Peanut’s family fall into stories like these? Did they have a health care provider only focus on the negatives of DS and not share any positive? Did they make them feel that Peanut wasn’t capable of their love? I wonder, if they received a positive outlook on DS, would they have chosen to keep her instead?
Why is the diagnosis story so important? Because now more than ever before, we are seeing a diminishing lower of DS births due to abortion. As well as thousands of children with DS awaiting their adoption. Could some of this have been prevented if the health care providers provided accurate information?
Organizations like the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network are working diligently with healthcare providers around the world to help them deliver a DS diagnosis correctly. They are working with families as they process this scary information, and provide support and love when it seems hopeless.
Individuals with Down Syndrome live much fuller longer lives now. No longer are they being shipped off to hospitals to live out their lives alone and experimented on (yes, something that happened often just a few decades ago). Instead of the life expectancy being in the mid 30’s, adults with DS are living far into their 50’s and 60’s. A lot can attend college, hold jobs, get married and even live alone with low supervision.
Receiving a DS diagnosis is scary! I cannot stress how much, how utterly terrifying it is to find out your baby will have to work harder and experience more health issues than typical children. Parents often feel very overwhelmed and worried they will not be able to handle what comes next. With this, decision based on fears and emotions are being made and families are not given the full story beforehand.
Down Syndrome is not a death sentence! Down Syndrome brings joy, laughter, happiness and love to our world. It has it set backs, hardships and pain, but man oh man, does the good outweigh the bad!