My son has Down Syndrome – read Wendy’s story

Wendy’s son has Down Syndrome and she kindly agreed to share her celebration of her life with him.

What is a human being?

NOUN

· A man, woman, or child of the species “Homo sapiens” , distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.

Son Has Down Syndrome

Personally, I believe there are many more qualities than this that make up the complex definition of a human being. Empathy, emotion, self-awareness to name but a few. What the above definition does not explain is exactly what is superior mental development? What is articulate speech? If you cannot stand upright are you less than human? Who, or what are we comparing ourselves to and who decides what makes us superior?

So many questions, and why do I ask?

My son has Down Syndrome

My son is three years old, comparative to his peers, he does not have superior mental development or articulate speech, but he is human and he has Down Syndrome. So is he less worthy of life? Current UK law classifies Down Syndrome as a severe disability and therefore allows termination up to 40 weeks. The termination rate following a positive diagnosis of Down syndrome is around 92%, in some countries it is 100%.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of NHS money is spent improving prenatal testing in order to detect genetic ‘abnormalities’. I understand that they can also detect other syndromes such as Edward’s and Patua Syndrome, which are life limiting conditions and to know of any pre-existing condition can be the difference between life and death.

The problem I have is when archaic information is given at the time of diagnosis from medical professionals and the media generally have a negative view on Down Syndrome. If you are given nothing but a gloomy account of what a child with DS will bring you, how can you make an informed choice?

You may think that I exaggerate but some midwives are actually taught to tell parents ‘it’s bad news’. Some women have been booked in for terminations despite stating categorically that their baby is very much wanted.

So let me tell you a little bit about my son, and then you can decide if he is less worthy of life, and a burden on society who brings me nothing but hardship and misery.

Celebrating a little boy’s life

I’m usually woken at around 6 am with some chirruping sounds coming through the monitor, as I slowly awaken this turns to happy chatter (he’s a mini Alan Carr), and he happily plays in his room until I’m finished showering and dressing at around 7 am. When I go through, he has pulled all his cuddly toys and some books into his bed and he is enthusiastically hugging them and pretending to read to them. I am greeted by an indescribable smile of pure joy, I undo his sleeping bag and hold my arms out. He toddles over to me and flings his tiny arms around my neck, holding on for twenty, maybe thirty seconds of bliss. He hands me a book and we sit on the floor while I read (and sign) the story.

We have breakfast, he scoops yoghurt into his mouth (and everywhere else) while he watches Peppa Pig. Squealing in delight and running around the room when the excitement gets too much. He signals to me that he wants the milk from my cereal, it’s teamwork, he finishes what I would normally waste. At some point whilst I’m getting ready he will jump on my knee, covering me in yoghurt, stroking my hair and bouncing up and down.

When we go out we go swimming, horse riding or perhaps to a wildlife sanctuary where he can interact with the animals. He wants to hug everything, from ducks to donkeys to bunnies to birds of prey. As you can imagine some creatures are not so taken with the cuddles, some relinquish willingly.

My son is amazing, he has a zest for life that I have never seen in any other human, he has a determination that I could only dream of, he is happy, he is healthy and he is loved beyond words. These are the bits that the medical world don’t see, that the media don’t want to see.

Yes, he can be a pain in the bum and sometimes a total nightmare, can’t any child? We have our challenges, I’m a single parent so that is to be expected. But the joy that this tiny person brings to my life, and all those around him, surpasses any negatives or challenges that we may encounter. He is my teacher, my inspiration and my guiding star. He is a human being.

He is more worthy of life than so many, but there is no prenatal test to detect who will be a murderer or paedophile, but sadly there is a prenatal test for an extra chromosome.

So please, don’t feel sorry for me or give me pity, Be jealous, because I get to see life through the eyes of a child with Down Syndrome, I get to see life through the eyes of Elijah with wondrous excitement and awe.

Elijah, you are my world, and without you in it, I would cease to exist.

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https://thisiselijah.com/

Thanks so much Wendy for sharing your story with  us and for showing that yes your son has Down Syndrome but is very much an individual in his own right.

diaryofanimperfectmum



What Katy Said
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16 Comments

  1. Sean McCammon August 17, 2017 / 4:32 pm

    This whole issue of termination and down syndrome really does get me in a defensive mode. It ‘P’s me off , really , how they can allow termination just because a child may have down syndrome, and what goes me more is the percentage of people that do. What really makes them different from any other life that will be growing in the womb?

    These people feel issue that there their child is not perfect? We always said that regardless of if our children had been diagnosed with down syndrome or anything else, we would never have terminated. They are little humans which are so full of joy and love.

    Our son was diagnosed with ASD and learning disability. He doesn’t speak but he is full of joy and love and certainly lets us know what he wants – such as ‘Get Up Daddy’ by jumping on the bed and pulling at me.

    They should really look at this and change the rules. This is a good informative post by the way.

    • Wendy August 21, 2017 / 7:45 am

      Thank you, I wish there were more people in the world like you!

  2. Imperfect Mum August 18, 2017 / 6:23 am

    This was so beautiful! I get to see the world through the eyes of my autistic son and he taught me so much too. I recognise a lot of this. There is no test for autism yet but I wonder if it will come. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime brilliant post and series
    Imperfect Mum recently posted…Blogger Recognition AwardMy Profile

    • Wendy August 21, 2017 / 7:46 am

      Thank you, our children are the best teachers, the teach without prejudice or hate, there’s a lot that could learn from them.

  3. Becky Willoughby August 18, 2017 / 1:06 pm

    What a beautiful post and definitely full of reasons to be cheerful!

    • Wendy August 21, 2017 / 7:47 am

      He is definitely my reason to be cheerful, his smile brightens the darkest of days.

  4. Lisa (Mumdadplus4) August 20, 2017 / 7:46 pm

    What a beautiful post, I hate it when people judge and have ill informed thoughts and ideas, I have a friend with a DS child and she is pure joy to be around. #KCACOLS

    • Wendy August 21, 2017 / 7:47 am

      The joy these children bring is incomparable to anything I have ever seen. x

  5. Kelly-Anne | Mimi Rose and Me August 21, 2017 / 7:27 am

    What a beautiful post. Some many are so quick to judge and have opinion without knowing everything they need to. Our friend Scott, has downs and he is just wonderful. Always cracks the funniest jokes, we are always laughing when we are around him. He’s away at college at the most, but when he’s home it’s just lovely.

    • Wendy August 22, 2017 / 7:54 am

      Away at college…music to my ears, more than I ever managed!!

  6. Katy (What Katy Said) August 25, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    Oh wow I didn’t know they allowed termination up to 40 weeks. I am shocked to the core. My great uncle had Down Syndrome and was the most gentle of souls. He lived until he was 65 and brought so much joy to the world. Such a lovely post, Elijah sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for joining in #HappyDaysLinky xx

    • Wendy August 29, 2017 / 1:53 pm

      It’s so sad that parents feel like they have no choice but to terminate, I can only imagine what such a late termination would do to a person, not to mention the poor baby.
      Elijah is about as wonderful as they come, and like your uncle, an incredibly gentle soul (with the determination of an ox!!) xx

  7. Ruth - Mummy and the Mexicans August 29, 2017 / 5:19 am

    Elijah sounds like the sweetest little boy! I think there is still too much prejudice and too many outdated negative ideas surrounding Downs syndrome. I hope your post will go some way to changing some of these ideas and spreading more positive ones. #kcacols

    • Wendy August 29, 2017 / 1:55 pm

      You are correct! Elijah is the loveliest little man I could ever have wished for, and prejudices are outdated and hopelessly cruel. I wouldn’t change Elijah for the world, but I wish I could change the world for him x

  8. Peachy and her Mommy August 30, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    I used to be one of those people who figured that if there was something wrong with my pregnancy I would terminate it. I felt this way all the way up until the ultrasound. I expected to see a clump of cells and maybe a heartbeat. What I saw were hands, feet, and a face. This was a person and I knew then that terminating the pregnancy would not be an option no matter what result the tests yielded. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

    • Wendy August 31, 2017 / 8:00 am

      Peachy is very lucky to have you as a Momma, and yes I would have been the same. I never dreamt in a million years that I would be able to cope as an additional needs parent – in reality, he is the most perfect little boy and I couldn’t have wished for anything more x

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