As a Dad who just learned your child has Down Syndrome, you will hear this myth everywhere: Down Syndrome is a devastating and painful diagnosis that will turn a parent’s life upside down forever.
* It’s in the literature. In a book titled: “Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parents’ Guide“, the first sentence of the Chapter “Adjusting To Your Baby” says: “It is painful beyond belief to be told that your precious new baby has Down Syndrome.”
* It’s in the doctor’s words of sorrow and apology; in fact, Doctors need booklets to “gently” deliver a Down Syndrome diagnosis.
* It’s in the voices of friends and family who say “I’m sorry” on your happiest day: the day you become a Daddy (again?).
Like the monkeys in the cage, nobody really knows why these beliefs persist. Doom and Gloom at the diagnosis of Down Syndrome? That’s just how it’s always been done.
Here’s the problem, though: the Big Myth of Down Syndrome Doom and Gloom is a steamy warm pile of bullshit.
Here are my 6 Steps to debunking the Big Myth:
Step 1: CTFD.
CTFD is a practical technique that works GREAT when you learn your child has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
Step 2: Get Some Perspective.
Let’s get some perspective on what would be truly “devastating” or “painful beyond belief”:
* Finding out your precious new baby was stillborn.
* Being forced to watch your wife undergo a mandatory abortion because the baby is a girl. (The inevitable result of giving government a toe-hold in the uterus).
*Learning your precious newborn baby was slaughtered in a mass ethnic genocide.
A diagnosis of Down Syndrome? For parent or baby, it doesn’t even approach “pain beyond belief”.
Step 3: Confront Reality.
Now that we have a realistic idea of what is and is not painful, let’s confront the unavoidable reality that people with Down Syndrome can have lives just like the rest of us:
These stories aren’t “inspiration porn”. They are evidence that the gloom and doom of Down Syndrome is a mirage.
Don’t believe me: let high-school student Joey Kane tell you.
Step 4: Think It Over.
Think over these 2 questions:
1) If people with Down Syndrome can do what we all can do, why should anyone feel “despair” about having a child with Down Syndrome?
2) When the “feel-bad” crowd concludes, years later, that having a child with Down Syndrome was the best thing that happened to them, aren’t they really saying there is no need for you to feel despair?
Step 5: Write a new script.
Here is my script. Feel free to borrow it or write your own.
* Down Syndrome can not – and will not – stop me from believing in my son, supporting my son, or raising my son to the best of my ability.
* I choose to feel good about my son’s future, Down Syndrome or not.
It’s okay to be scared – some of the complications that coincide with Down Syndrome are fucking scary. It’s okay to be overwhelmed: there is a lot to learn about Down Syndrome. There will also be a lot of work, and there is going to be some extra cost.
But being a Dad is always a lot of work and always has a steep learning curve: whether its your first baby, your fourth baby, or your Downs baby.
Want to feel sorry for yourself? That’s fine, we all have a Pity Party from time to time. Be sure to talk to a friend, work it out and move on. No need to perpetuate the Big Myth.
There really is no need for a New or Expecting Dad to hang his head, gnash his teeth, wail or otherwise mourn the diagnosis of Down Syndrome.
We have lost nothing. To the contrary we gain the world.
Step 6: Join Me on a Brighter Path.
New or Expecting Dads: will you join me on the path of sunshine and reject the path of gloom?
Say it out loud:
I’m a Daddy, and my new baby is awesome. The Down Syndrome part? It just doesn’t matter.
Related Posts from parents who are okay with Down Syndrome:
The Words Every New Dad Should Hear (Thank you, Mark Leach!): “Down Syndrome is not incompatible with life. ENJOY YOUR BABY.”by