Perhaps you saw the episode of Family Guy that centered around a girl with Down syndrome or perhaps you did not, but surely you've seen stuff on TV and online about Sarah Palin and her daughter throwing a fit about it. I have to say, I saw the episode and I thought it was great and so did many parents who have children with Down syndrome. There weren't any horrible jokes at this girl's expense but instead, the "message" of the show was that people with Down syndrome are just like everyone else (even if that means they are assholes sometimes). While driving up to PA with Stephen, I asked him who he thought was the voice for the girl on the show. He didn't know. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to Google it. Look what I found. -> GREAT STUFF. Enjoy.
P.S. Rachel hit 5 months yesterday! She is getting Baptised tomorrow and we have been spending the weekend with our family so I will have a bunch of pictures to post.
When I am planning something, I become obsessed. I need to learn as much about that something as I can; my wedding and cake decorating being two examples. When we decided to start trying for a baby, I started reading about it online and in books. How to track your cycles, how to know when you are ovulating and all the signs and symptoms of certain issues became second nature to me. Once I became pregnant and stayed pregnant, I turned to what happens while you are pregnant. I bought two books, was part of a message board online, and looked up endless thoughts and questions on google. I wanted to be prepared. Well, as prepared as anyone can be. I was obsessed with TV shows about being pregnant, labor and delivery. One time, Stephen told my doctor that I watched those shows and she said I shouldn't because it will make me worry. But, it was just the opposite for me. I love watching those shows because I wanted to know the worst. I wanted to know the complications, the issues, the drama that could come with giving birth. I wanted to be PREPARED! I had a general "birth plan" but I knew, from watching those shows, that nothing ever goes the way you want. So, I wasn't expecting a perfect birth. HA. I certainly didn't get it. (Unless you count the fact that Rachel lived. I guess that would make it a perfect birth.) But I digress...
Now, looking back at all the information that was out there, it stuns me that I never ONCE saw a show where the woman gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome. I mean, even the ones who refused testing and really had no idea what was going on with their baby gave birth to a "normal" child. Why is that, I wonder to myself. Why, do they not show babies like Rachel on TV or talk about them on the What To Expect website or give more information in baby books? Why is anything about Down syndrome shoved to the back of the book, restricted to the "special concerns section" on the website, not shown on TV? Do they think Down syndrome will hurt people or upset them to see "that kind" of baby anymore than seeing a woman losing her baby's heart beat and being rushed for an emergency C-section or a woman who's baby doesn't breath after birth? IT IS THE MOST COMMON GENETIC "DISORDER". Why isn't there more out there?
Well, I only have one answer. People are scared. They can take the C-section, the heart rate drops and the eclampsia as long as they get their perfect baby in the end. So much so that when given the option of having their baby with Down syndrome or aborting, they chose the later in the majority of cases.
I have to say that Down syndrome has become my next plan. My next obsession. I feel it in my heart, burning, to reach as many people as possible, show them my Rachel, and ask them...
As baby shower gifts, I received a couple of baby books. I stacked them on the shelf in Rachel's room before she was born. I thought about how I would snuggle up with her on the glider at night and read to her. Then life happens in a way you never thought it would and you end up scared in a hospital. After a few weeks, I brought some of those books to the hospital to read to Rachel. I figured that it would help her recognize me and give me something to do in the hours that I was there. I tried and failed many times to read I'll See You in the Morning without breaking in to tears. The book talks about the mommy (or daddy) tucking their child in to bed and how the night isn't scary and how they will be there for them and see them in the morning. Every time I would read those words, my mind would start thinking about how I wouldn't be there at night if she cried for me and I wouldn't be there in the morning when she opened her eyes. Reading the book made me feel like such a horrible mother and I eventually stopped.
A mother of a friend of mine has sent Rachel a book every holiday so far. Rachel has received one for Christmas, Halloween and now Valentine's Day. The book Rachel received for Valentine's Day is called Mama, How Long Will You Love Me? I read it to Rachel the day I got it in the mail and, again, tears streamed from my eyes. (With a title like that, I knew I was in for it.) But this time, it was because I was thankful to be able to read that book to her in our home. I was thankful to be looking at my healthy, beautiful baby without the hospital tubes and wires and beeping noises. I am so thankful that I will be able to read to her for many years to come. I can only hope that these tears stop falling in those coming years or Rachel will start looking at me funny. :)