My Unexpected Little Blessing

The surprise of a baby with Down syndrome – the story begins at the bottom of this page.

The Value in Difference

on February 3, 2013

Melissa Gallo 2012 2 Melissa Gallo 2012 28

Just before Thanksgiving we had some professional photos taken of our sweet little Regan. (It was hard to choose….but those are a couple of my favorites!) Sometimes I am astounded by the beauty of this baby! And…not just that outer beauty that is so evident in these photos. This little one is going to have a heart of gold…I am certain. My life is so joyful because of her…..and that she was born to me. I love being her mom!

An interesting conversation stirred between my husband, a Tutor, and one of his students recently. For the sake of privacy, she will remain nameless, but for the story’s sake, I will mention that she is middle-school aged. So here goes….Todd was tutoring this young lady one afternoon, and helping her with her English. He was trying to explain antonyms to her….but in the process he drew a total blank on the word antonym. (Go figure!) So, as he was trying to get the word out, she guesses, “amniocentesis”, as it was the first thing she thought of that started with the “ah” sound he was making. Much to his surprise….as you wouldn’t guess a middle schooler would even know what an amniocentesis is, or that it would be at the forefront of their mind. So, Todd said, “No, not amniocentesis”, and then the word hit him. He said, “antonyms”. She said, “oh ok, I know what that is.” But Todd was interested in why she had amniocentesis on her mind. So he asked her what she knew about an amnio. And she replied, “It is a test that a pregnant woman has to check if the baby has a birth defect.” (That term birth defect just makes me cringe!). He asked her how she knew about that, and she said she learned it in school. (It was either science or health class.) Todd was shocked as he could not recall this type of thing being taught in school. So he then asked her, “Well what happens if the test shows that your baby has a birth defect?” The answer she gave is shocking, “Then you abort the baby”. Todd responded with, “Why would you abort the baby?” And she says, “Because, who would want a baby with a birth defect?” Todd sat there for a moment, and then told her, “My daughter has Down syndrome.” She paused, for quite some time, and did not know what to say. He could tell she was feeling uncomfortable at that point. She then changed the subject and they moved on.

When he came home that night and told me this story, I did all I could to help the tears from falling down my face. Not because I am sad that my daughter’s condition has the horrible label of “birth defect”, from which I will not refer to her. But that society is so anti-differences. We are so afraid of what we do not understand. And I get that there are people out there that could not handle this diagnosis. For starters I would ask  them to research it, to be sure you understand what Down syndrome actually means. And if at that point, you still cannot handle it, there is always adoption. There is a wait list in the US for people wanting to adopt babies with Down syndrome. But to think that our schools are indoctrinating our children to believe that being different, to one degree or another, disqualifies someone from being able to have a chance at life, is beyond unreasonable to me. When I think of the idea that babies born with Down syndrome may be fewer and fewer, it makes me sad. Mostly because I feel like that is society putting a “not as worthy” label on my daughter, and those like her. I definitely never expected that my child was going to have Down syndrome. When you realize you are pregnant, and start imagining what life is going to be like with your new baby, that is just not something that you ever think about. But when that baby arrives, Down syndrome or not, they are still your baby. And I could not love Regan more if she didn’t have it. I love her as is. You learn acceptance, and unwavered love. And you want nothing more than for everyone else to do the same. And when someone, or many someones for that matter, believe that the “normal” child is more valuable, it cuts you deep. Because your child is valuable, even if you can’t convince every one of that. And you want your child to grow up feeling accepted, and loved, and wanted. That is all I want for her. And God knows…..the day that anyone even remotely attempts to treat her like she is less of a person, is likely the day that the mama beast is unleashed.  I think I could very well lose my cool…..but will do my very best to keep it together……for her! Because…she’s worth it!

“When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.”

– Charles E. Hughes


7 responses to “The Value in Difference

  1. So sad! Our little ones are such a blessing! Hopped over from Noah’s Dad’s blog! Look forward to following your journey. Regan is gorgeous!!!! God bless!

    • brandy51980 says:

      Hi Jenifer – thank you for checking out my blog, and for sending the message and compliment on my sweet little Regan!! And you are right – they are a little blessing! Take care! Brandy

    • matt coffey says:

      Our baby girl was born 7 hours ago and shows 3-4 definite markers for down syndrome. They said they are going to do a heart ultrasound in the morning and will send a blood sample for confirmation. We had no clue. Can you recommend where to look aside from blogs for help. I felt devastated at first and now feel like a terrible person for being devastated. We just want her to be healthy and happy and we feel in a daze and clueless. Thank you for your blog its encouraging.

      • brandy51980 says:

        Hello Matt,

        I am so happy for you – congrats on your little girl! I know this can be a scary time, and that is totally understandable. But you are so blessed to be given this child – with or without the Down syndrome. I am so happy that what I have shared about our precious Regan has been able to help your family. (sorry it took me so long to get back to you – she was sick the last couple days). She is the best thing that has ever happened to our family – and we love every minute we get to spend with her. 🙂 The best advice I can give is to get in contact with your local Down syndrome association. They are a wealth of information!! And always ready to help and answer questions. They also can get you in contact with others in your area that have children with Down syndrome. We have made some great friends here just because our daughter has a little extra genetic material. 🙂 Please feel free to message me any time – I would be happy to help with anything I can. Again, congratulations on the birth of your little one!! Try not to be overwhelmed with all the concerns that you may have about DS, take it one thing at a time. It will all work out. 🙂

  2. Noah's Dad says:

    She is sooooo adorable! 🙂

  3. Laurie Kowalski says:

    Everyone should have the honor if knowing someone with Down syndrome because they can change a person’s entire outlook on life. I know that my son has for me and everyone who meets him. I’m sure your sweet and beautiful daughter has the same effect. It really scares me that they are teaching this in the schools and to such young children. If my daughter came home from school and told me they taught that in her school I would be furious!

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