Why I choose to Publicly Share My son who has Down’s Syndrome
When we found out about our son Cedar’s diagnosis of Down Syndrome, I didn’t know anyone with Down Syndrome. I couldn’t recall seeing more than a handful of people with Down Syndrome in public in my whole life.
That is where part of the fear came from, the fear of the unknown.
Did people with Down Syndrome understand when you spoke to them? Did they like to be around others with Down Syndrome or did they like to be around typicals? Did they have friends? Did any of them grow past the mental age of toddlers? I was seriously that ignorant.
Because I was so uninformed I had a lot of learning to do, luckily, God orchestrated it right from the beginning. A new friend I had met just earlier that year was so sweet when I told her about our son’s diagnosis, she said she wanted me to meet someone. It turns out her mother’s best friend has a daughter, Kelsey, with Down Syndrome. This is someone my friend had grown up knowing. The connections began…I met Roxanne and her daughter and I started to not feel so alienated. Roxanne told me to look on Instagram and follow a few of her favorite accounts that had amazing children, Thank you, Roxanne.
Before this encounter, I really was rather unfamiliar with Instagram, this was late December 2016. I created an account and I began searching for all things Down Syndrome. That is when I found hope.
I loved seeing the faces that popped up in my feed. The smiles, the crescent shaped eyes and the round little faces. I saw my son in some of those faces and I saw hope, love, compassion and light. I was smitten with faces like @flicks_on_fleek and @ahtharpe. I loved seeing videos of the children doing all the normal children things, it was then I knew this was all going to be okay.
I decided then and there that I wanted to be a part of changing perceptions of Down Syndrome (notice the tag line?) I wanted someone else to smile because I shared my son, I wanted to bring hope to someone else. I wanted others to see that there is beauty in differences. I wanted others to see that our life was not gloomy and sad as I had feared it would be when those first diagnostic words were uttered.
I have never so publically put my family out there, and some would say it is not wise because the world is cruel, yes it is. But, if we don’t share Down Syndrome then the stereotypes perpetuate, the fear grows.
I choose to share my son publicly because I want to change the way people see Down Syndrome. I want people to see him as just another baby doing regular baby things. I want others to realize that he is more like other children than he is different from them.
I also have chosen to share some of the difficult things, the feelings, the heart issues, the delays. I know that ignorance perpetrates more ignorance so I want to educate others as I myself am learning. That is the only way that this world will change for my son and others like him.
I choose to share my son because I so needed all of those people who shared their children.