One Mom’s Story of a Diagnosis Journey, Friendship, and Celebration
After 3 years of fertility treatments; fears of miscarriage and loss; uncertainty and fears about a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome at 11 weeks; and the exploration of an adoption plan, one mom describes how planning a baby shower helped her celebrate the upcoming arrival of her baby boy and feel the love and support of her friends.
Our friends and family were very supportive. They were so happy for us, but I realized they, like me at first, didn’t understand what a diagnosis of Down syndrome meant. The ones who had been around children with Down syndrome all told me, “Oh they are the best kids, they are so happy all the time,” or we would hear comments like “God chose you for this, you will be the best parents and I can’t imagine a better couple to have a child with DS.” These comments though well intended would make me cringe.
I wanted to find a way to incorporate some information about Down syndrome at my baby shower so my friends and family would understand what I was feeling and what I knew from the research. I was introduced to the “Welcome to Holland” poem by Emily Kingsley a couple of years ago after a friend’s son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, and I knew I wanted to use it at my baby shower. I had told Amber about my idea to incorporate it somehow, and include some facts about Down syndrome. To my great surprise Amber emailed me one day and sent me the link to the book “Your Loved One is Having a Baby with Down Syndrome.” She said she wanted to buy them for the guests at my baby shower. My cup runneth over!
I was blown away by her thoughtfulness and generosity and felt so lucky she was wanting to do this for me. I read the booklet and felt it was the perfect “take-away” for my friends and family to learn the things about Down syndrome I wanted them to know. I printed the “Welcome to Holland” poem on card stock and put some facts on the other side. Amber put them in the booklets and displayed them at my shower with photos of Joe (my husband) and me. It was one of the most special gifts at my shower that I will cherish forever.
This baby shower had become so important to me for so many different reasons, and my friends knew that and gave me the most special day I will never forgot. One of my other favorite memories of the baby shower was walking in and seeing t-shirts another friend had ordered for me, that I had told her about from an Instagram connection. I was touched that she remembered I liked the shirts and incorporated them into my baby shower.
Another favorite part of the shower was the floral crown making station another friend put together for me. I thought it would be a fun thing for guests to do at the shower, and she went above and beyond in making my “mere suggestion” to have this activity an amazing reality. It was one of the highlights of the baby shower that everyone loved, and the flower crowns could be something to take home and keep. I have mine hanging in the baby room.
My baby shower was one of my most favorite celebrations yet, and I’m so happy I decided to have one. To me it was perfect! I didn’t want to make it all about Down syndrome of course, but I did want to incorporate some aspects of it, because having a baby with Down syndrome is unique. It is different, and I really wanted my friends and family to experience a part of that with me. Amber and all my friends did a wonderful job making me feel special, making Finn (that’s his name) feel special, all the while helping me remember I’m welcoming a baby into this world — not just a baby with a Down syndrome, but a baby that will have the same needs and wants as any other baby — to be loved and cherished all the days of his life.
More photos of the celebration!