Last Friday was international Down’s syndrome day. In the run up to it I was scratching my head wondering what to write, being that I had written a post so recently about Chiara I was really struggling. So I thought I would let me wife. The post is a future letter to herself
On this night you are about to give birth to one of the most beautiful baby girls you can ever imagine. But in the second she is born, you will be filled with sense of grief because she has Down Syndrome. You will feel that her future and the future of your family is uncertain and perhaps bleak.
The reason I came back to write you this is to tell you that you are completely wrong. What you cannot imagine yet is the happiness that she will bring to every single person she touches. You will call her Chiara, as that name means light, and that is exactly what she is.
Believe me when I tell you that you will one day wonder why you were ever afraid. Chiara responds just like any other child. When you come home from work at night, she lights up when she hears your voice. You creep in and say “where are my girls?” to which she starts giggling with her sister. She laughs so hard that she squeezes her eyes shut. The stress of your day disappears.
Chiara has a kind of knowledge behind her eyes. She knows things. When she looks at you, she tells you, “Don’t be afraid, mummy. I will teach you all you will ever need to know.”
In some ways, having a child with Down Syndrome is a challenge, because she requires extra teaching, extra care by way of therapists, etc. But is that really a challenge? Sometimes I think not. So what if we have to think about our schedule a bit more and so what if every milestone she reaches is made up of tinier ones?
This has been a joy, as we celebrate every tiny stone she uncovers. We have learnt as a family to celebrate all the small things in life. Even her older sister, who is still a baby too, claps her hands and says “Yeah, Chiara” without any prompting.
So, Marlo, please know that all the fear you will feel in your heart will be replaced by more love than you have ever known. And the love won’t just be for her….It will be for Amelia, who will not bat an eyelash because Chiara has Down. The love will also be for your husband, who will show that he is a man of substance and character. He is the best father you could have hoped for.
So, let Down Syndrome into your life with open arms, and you will be letting in love