Our first guest blogger of 2022 is Jessica aka Beau’s mom! We first met Jessica and her beautiful family while Beau was still in the womb! GiGi’s Playhouse was their first point of contact after receiving a diagnosis that their son had a 90% chance of being born with Trisomy 21. They came to us seeking any information about Down syndrome, learned about the countless opportunities, and were warmly welcomed into our strong and mighty community. Thank you Jessica for sharing your heart and advocating tirelessly for Beau and for all of our loved ones with Down syndrome.
At 12 weeks pregnant with my son, Beau, I experienced one of the most difficult, memorable, bone-crushingly painful days of my life. Our doctor informed us that there was a 90% chance our son will have Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome. Immediately following this statement, my world stood still and the only thing I heard were the sniffles and tears falling from my face. Over the next few hours, I had sudden outburst of cries, wailing, gut-wrenching cries. There wasn’t an ounce of me that felt I was qualified to be a special needs mom. The overwhelming anxiety of what our future held had me frozen with fear. I was fearful of him being different in his abilities, because, let’s face it, this world isn’t always kind to those with disabilities. For the past three years, Beau has shown me he is, in fact, different.
He’s different in how he loves. The way he taps his little hand on your back while you’re embraced in the most warm and genuine hug. How he races across the room with his tongue hanging out in anticipation of a kiss. The way he sits on your lap, looks up at you and smiles. He loves differently. His squeals of excitement make you smile no matter your mood. His laugh as he anxiously awaits you to chase and tickle him on the couch. He is different. How he walks so unsteadily to you with arms wide open and smiles. The way he gestures to you to sing “wheels on the bus”. The way his loving eyes look back at you when you call his name. He’s beautifully different. While I’ll never ask or wish for my son to change, I’ll do everything I can to make the world change for him; change their minds, their hearts, and change any stigma associated with Down syndrome. What I’ve learned in three short years is that Beau is not at a disadvantage because he has Down syndrome. The only disadvantage he has are others placing limitations on him. The greatest gift I can give Beau, and all his friends with DS is to advocate and spread awareness.
Early in my pregnancy, we learned of a place called GiGi’s Playhouse Fort Wayne. It’s directly because of GiGi’s and the playdates they host that I have a core group of moms that have instantly become great friends. Our boys are growing up together as friends while us moms dream of the day they can independently live together as roommates. What once felt like an isolating diagnosis has now become a community I couldn’t imagine not being a part of, all because of GiGi’s. For families like mine, GiGi’s is our safe place for Beau to be surrounded by individuals just like him. It’s a safe place for my husband and I to connect with other parents that can provide insight, encouragement, and advocacy to our kids. From playdates and dance classes, to educational and therapeutic programs, GiGi’s offers something for every age. Every one of the services or programs GiGi’s offers if free. This means GiGi’s relies heavily on donations. So, if you haven’t yet, please consider donating to an amazing cause that not only help individuals with Down syndrome, but their families as well.
I’ll end on this note, if you haven’t met someone with Down syndrome, I encourage you to do so. If you want to see God’s hands at work, come spend some time with my son. I promise you, he’ll forever change your outlook on life.