21st March is #WDAD15 (World Down’s Syndrome Day). A time to raise awareness, raise money and raise a toast to that special person with an extra chromosome who has affected your life.
A year ago, Audrey was just 8 months old when we attended a local gathering and met lots of DS families… and faced seeing older children and adults with DS; which was something that definitely scared me back then. We came away feeling good. For me, raising awareness is predominantly about showing how ‘normal’ (whatever normal is!) life can be with a child who has DS. Of course things are different, but those early panics brought forth feelings that nothing would ever be the same again… That this little baby girl would have a difficult and sad life. So I want my blogging and instagramming to show that Audrey’s life isn’t a struggle, she’s not suffering, she’s just getting on with things and she just so happens to also be incredibly beautiful and wonderful!
Mixing with other families serves to strengthen the feeling that ‘everything is going to be ok’. The surprise of a child with DS can make you feel like your world has been crushed, when in fact it’s just shifted a little. You may end up on a slightly different path to the one you planned, but isn’t that what makes life great?
People said to me that Audrey would teach us a lot and initially I thought that was just a cheesy statement that gets dug up to make you feel better. But just 20 months in and it’s so true. She has taught us so much already. Priorities shift when you have a child, but I also think I look at life differently.
Isn’t it great to have people in the world who challenge your view of beauty? And make you less judgemental? Making you appreciate the smallest things? Well that’s what Audrey has done.
I never could have imagined that I would become this enthusiastic member of the Down’s syndrome community, but here I am, sharing our story and being thankful for Audrey everyday. She is the love of our life and we are so excited to watch her grow and learn. And how amazing is it that social media lets us watch other little ones with DS grow up too? We can all be connected from all around the world, sharing our ups and downs, giving support where needed.
Happy World Down Syndrome Day (taking out the ‘s this time for the Americans!)!
Oh and of course, here she is… Will try to get pictures of us at the local WDSD event and post them later.