Some expectant moms wait to reach out to local groups for a variety of reasons. Others reach out right away. Are you thinking about reaching out? Consider these benefits to reaching out locally while you are pregnant:
1. You can find out if your group has a prenatal outreach, new parent support, or first call program.
2. You may find a mentor who can help you one on one.
3. You may be able to receive free books or other information.
4. You will have access to the lending library.
5. You may be able to have a discussion with other local parents with a prenatal diagnosis, about feelings, delivery plans, and experiences after delivery at your hospital.
6. You may be able to get your extended family members involved in fundraising social events (like Buddy Walks, or dinners) which will give them a feeling of helping while you take baby steps into the community.
7. You can learn about local medical services and providers.
8. You can learn about local Early Intervention service providers, including family cost share and which therapists are the best.
9. You may meet someone with a baby – someone whose child may be best friends with your child. This may also help you see the immediate future.
10. At group social events your typical children can play with kids with Down syndrome.
11. Learn about programs and opportunities in your area.
12. Find a local family that has faced the medical issue with which your baby has been prenatally diagnosed.
13. Become more confident in your ability to successfully parent your child with Down syndrome.
14. Make lifelong friends who you will know and trust in 18 years to come up with innovative housing and social activities for your child.
15. Have fun! We have lots of fun at social events – it may take your mind off of this pregnancy stress and help you envision a happy future.
Adapted (“prenatalized”) from Missy’s blog post.
Some parents are uncomfortable about attending local group functions when their child is not yet born. Others embrace the chance to meet other parents. Groups vary in the supports they have available for prenatally diagnosed parents. Have you reached out to your local group? What was your experience? Have you attended functions, or do you prefer one-on-one support? If your child has a specific health issue, have you been able to connect with parents who experienced the same issues?