She doesn’t look like a “Downs baby”

8 Mar

20140308-100021.jpgI have been waiting for the right time – a really long time – to write this post. I was waiting to go a week or a couple of weeks without hearing someone say this, then I would write the post, because I don’t want anyone at all to think this post is directed toward them. It absolutely is not.

But I could never wait to post this because I am told this soooo much. 99.9% of the time I know the intention of the person saying it is good. And I will actually sit there and have a conversation about it, so please don’t feel bad if you’ve said this to me. There has only been one time when it rubbed me the wrong way….I may talk about it later.

It’s just another thing to add to the list of comments that I probably said myself before I had a child with Down syndrome.

Drumroll please…..

“But she doesn’t look like she has Down syndrome?!”

I do not take offense to this (& most moms & dad’s probably don’t either), but I remember the first time it was said to me after Rosalie was born, it caught me off guard & I thought, “well, what’s that supposed to mean?” I’m proud of how Rosalie looks, whether she “looks” like she has Ds or not.

But then the second and third and forth times I heard it from well-meaning friends, I grew a little more and more uncomfortable with it.
And here’s why. In our society, we are basically brainwashed into thinking that having a baby with beautiful almond shaped eyes, epicanthal folds (the skin fold of the upper eyelid covers the inner angle of the eye), a single palm crease and a flat nasal bridge (etc.) is undesirable.
That’s why the abortion rate for prenatal diagnoses of Down syndrome is over 90%. So when someone says, “She doesn’t look like she has Down syndrome!” It feels like they are saying “Well, she doesn’t look undesirable!” And to that I could say thanks, but then that would imply that Rosalie’s other friends aren’t as good looking & trust me, Rosalie has some CUTIE PIE friends, from Valdosta & all over the US.

Am I rambling, or is this making sense?

Or, others may throw in, “she must not have such a severe case,” or “her ‘Downs’ must not be that bad.” Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. One either has Trisomy 21, Down syndrome or not. Those who have Down syndrome are individuals, just like everyone else in the world. And thankfully, God made us all different and all in His image (Gen. 1:27).
Rosalie is beautiful. I see the characteristics of Down syndrome when I see her and I absolutely adore that about her. Now I can spot a child with Ds from a mile away. I get so excited when I see a child or adult with Down syndrome in a Target ad, on Sesame Street, or on a tv show. I wish we could see more.

I truly think that Down syndrome is so beautiful. So please, if you think it may be paying a compliment to a mommy or daddy by telling them their child doesn’t look like they have Down syndrome, maybe just tell them their child is beautiful instead. That’s all that is needed. 🙂
20140308-100446.jpgRosalie has learned to wave bye bye!


One Response to “She doesn’t look like a “Downs baby””

  1. Kris Fletcher March 9, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    Girl, you said that well! I have always thought parents of a ds child have a blessing others don’t. The love and connection between ya”ll is something the rest of us will never know. I don’t know…. I’m not saying we don’t love and connect with our children, it’s just different. I’m sure you must know what I’m talking about. I have ds cousin, who is almost 40 (btw) and when she walks into a room it lights up with love.

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