I consider us friends. I’ve known you for quite a while, long before your beautiful newborn Rex was born last week.
The day he was born, however, we suddenly had a LOT more in common. Because Rex was born with Down syndrome, just like my toddler Parker.
Kat’s son Parker.
So, here’s some things I want you to know, because they are important for everyone to understand about Rex.
1. Congratulations. Your baby is perfect. All newborns are.
2. He has the awesomest name ever.
3. You’re still going to get puked on. Contrary to popular and incorrect belief, he doesn’t come with a ‘placid’ switch. He’s perfectly boringly typical.
4. Most babies with Down syndrome will happily breastfeed. Some may need extra help but they will overwhelmingly get there.
5. People will accuse you over the years of being all ‘rainbows and unicorns’ about your child with a disability. They will accuse you of seeing the world through rose tinted glasses. And that’s OK, because not everyone has acquired their own special community like we have.
You can’t have a son like Rex or Parker, and not be taken to transcendent levels of joy on a pretty regular basis. For our families, divorce rates are lower. Siblings are better adjusted and participate at a higher rate in giving back to their community.
People with Down syndrome themselves report at a rate of 99% that they are happy with their lives. How many typical adults can claim the same? Facts speak loudly, where emotions fail to transfer through words.
Our happy little family.
6. I grieved at first for the son I dreamed about when I was pregnant, the one that gave me hugs for no reason and took the bins out without asking and had his friends over after school for hangs. Turns out he was in my tummy all along. It’s just not going to be the same as I pictured it in my head.
On the flip side of the coin, I am the classic makeup loving girly girl and my 9 year old daughter is a cheeky tomboy who refuses to wear dresses. I guess I am used to being knocked off my ‘perfect parent pedestal dreams’ by now and just letting my kids be the little humans they were born to be.