Happy Mother’s Day, especially to all of the mothers and women caregivers to loved one’s with Down syndrome!
My name is Nicki, and I’m the mother to Elle, age 7. Before I was her mother, I would listen to pregnancy stories and was always so fascinated how each story was so unique describing the same biological process of carrying and giving birth to a child. Every rendition – a beautiful and special tribute to the beginning of a little life. Now that I am the parent to a child with Down syndrome, I am more intrigued by the story of how mothers first learned that their baby had a diagnosis of the extra 21st chromosome.
As a parent and volunteer at GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa, I have been so blessed to meet and share with 100’s of mothers, the story of their pregnancy and loving someone with Down syndrome. It’s a true gift for me because each mother is such an amazing example of strength, intelligence, success and beauty that voids all self judgement I had about how I conceived a child with the most common chromosomal condition. We learned at 18 weeks gestation that Elle had Down syndrome. The overwhelming amount of emotions and thoughts at that time still occupy my memories. I was consumed with what actions or nutrition I could have done differently to have “prevented” her from having Down syndrome. I believed for so long that there was something wrong with me, that I had made a mistake, until I met more and more mothers. Now, I know better than to believe it was anything I could have prevented but was actually an unintended gift. I have met the the most healthiest, smart, resourceful and gorgeous women on this earth and they happen to also have a child with Down syndrome. We all faced the same 1 in 600 chance of having a child with Trisomy 21. I am proud that I share this bond and friendship with these exceptional mothers and that I am included with them in the story of loving a child with an extra chromosome.
As women, we celebrate the positive of our children every single day, not just on Mother’s Day. Everyday advocate, educate and embrace the diagnosis of Down syndrome. But today, I want to celebrate the Mothers-every single gorgeous and talented one of you!
See you at the Playhouse very very soon!
Outreach Team Lead
GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa