World Down Syndrome Day

Today, and every March 21st, is World Down Syndrome Day. It’s a day to advocate for the rights, inclusion, and well being of people with Down Syndrome. So today, I’d like to share a bit about my life and the life of my son, Alastair, who had Down Syndrome.

"Absorbed in playing with sand" by PeterThoeny is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Absorbed in playing with sand” by PeterThoeny is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

I had a difficult pregnancy with my third child, and in my second trimester I learned that he had Down Syndrome. Honestly, I was heartbroken. I worried about my unborn baby, and knew that his life would be very different than the life I had imagined for him. I quickly learned all the facts I could about a situation that felt out of my control. I made goals for the future, planned finances, and did my best to ready myself for a life with a potentially medically fragile child. But again, life didn’t work out as I had planned. A month after learning of his syndrome my son died in the womb. He was stillborn two days later.

This happened two years ago, and some days the grief is still overwhelming. I have complicated feelings regarding Alastair’s death, but one thing has always remained true: I love my son, and I would have loved to have raised him no matter how difficult.

Individuals with Down Syndrome often have medical complications, but they also bring joy, love, and beauty to the world around them. Their lives may be complicated, but they are also wonderful.

Children With Down Syndrome by Fotograf Science Photo Library
Owner of Rights: Leverandør NTB

I never got to raise my son, but I will always be the mother of someone with Down Syndrome. My life and the lives of those around me have been touched by Down Syndrome and changed for the better. My wish is that my son’s life, though short, will help inspire people to live with more acceptance and inclusion for others who are different from themselves.