By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. While my family and I are on vacation, we are running some of our favorite NRL News Today stories from the last four months, entries from our “Roe at 40″ series, and an occasional update.
This heart-warming story, the kind that only someone who has a child with Down syndrome could write with such honest and encouragement , appeared at sippinglemonade.com. Lauren Warner wrote her essay in the form of a letter to a mother who has just received a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis.
The greatest difference is that Lauren learned about her daughter Kate not before she was born, but after. Even so, “I know how you feel.”
The story reads as if the doctors were not overly pessimistic when they came in and Lauren was holding her new baby girl. That would be very unlike what is so often the case when doctors discover that the baby a mom is carrying has that extra chromosome.
We’ve run dozens of stories in National Right to Life New and National Right to Life News Today in which moms and dads recite the litany of difficulties the child (and the family) will face. It takes courage and moxie to fend off the discouragers.
In Lauren’s case, there was an early cumulative effect. Once she added together what the docs had told her, read the statistics, and conducted her own online research, “I thought I knew what it ‘meant’ to have a child with Down syndrome. And quite frankly, I was devastated at what that meant.”
In her “letter” to the mom who has just received the diagnosis, Lauren adds, “And so it is with you.” And then the pivotal sentence of her letter.
“But let me tell you — from one mother to another — those facts are not what it means to have a child with Down syndrome.”
And that is the remainder of her message—how what the mom will have been told will not necessarily apply to her child, but more importantly what those numbers and statistics and “facts” will have missed.
Like how those “facts” couldn’t have told her how much Kate is a “Daddy’s girl,” or how Kate is “a nurturing big sister, a doting little sister — and the star in the room wherever we go.”
I don’t to keep you from reading Lauren’s essay from word one to the end. It is a story you will want to share. Let me end with this:
“Suddenly, the overwhelming facts and fears faded. Because instead of knowing a diagnosis, I grew to know her.”
“And so it will be with you.”