Friday, October 14, 2011

How do you tell people that your child has Down syndrome?

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That's a big question, and I know it is for a lot of parents that are in the same boat.

For us, it started during the pregnancy.

Since we found out pretty early (I was just a little over 3 months along), 
we decided we'd like people to know before our baby was born.

That way, by the time she was born, most people would be 'used to the idea', 
and would be ready to just be happy with us that she was here.

But then the next question: 
How do you tell people?

We started with our close family and some close friends, pretty much right after we found out.

We decided to leave it at that for a while, to allow ourselves some time to get used to the idea.

We waited about 2 more months to tell other people.
We needed that time, so that we'd feel "strong" enough to talk about it with other people.
We send out an email to let them know, just describing how we felt.

And that worked good for us.

It also gave the people that received that email the chance to think about it, rather than to have to come up with something to say immediately, which they would have had to do, if we would have told them in person. For some it was easier to write back to us, rather than say something in person, which was fine, too.

Still, the most awkward thing for me, is to tell people that I don't really know too well...

When someone in the store tells me how pretty my baby is, 
I just say "Thank you" and leave it at that.

But once I get to know someone a little more, for example other moms at my older daughter's school, 
I feel like there is a point I need to say something.

It's not that I'm sad or embarrassed or anything like that.

It's more that I feel it's a little awkward for the person I am talking to. 

I don't want them to feel bad for me, I don't want them to feel like they don't know what to say.

Usually I tell them that we knew before we had her, and that we were glad for that, so that it wasn't a shock at birth. That it gave us time to get used to it, which is so true. 
That usually is enough to make the other person feel "OK", since they see we're OK.

So far we have had -mostly- good reactions, which is nice.

But I always have to take a deep breath (in my mind that is) before I tell them...

That's OK, I guess :)

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