I have gone and done some research about Down Syndrome.
I must say that I don't normally feel the need to Google "Down Syndrome" or "Trisomy 21." Most of the time the information that you will find has an extremely negative spin on having Down Syndrome.
1. Down syndrome is not a curse.
It is NOT something someone suffers from. Nor is it something that a person is afflicted with. I feel the discourse provided pertaining to Trisomy 21 can perpetuate stereotypes and ignorance for individuals who just so happen to have an extra chromosome.
2. Medical jargon can be harsh and misleading.
When I was presented with the possibility that my baby could have Down Syndrome, some of the doctors (and there were plenty in my case), would say that there was a "RISK" of Trisomy 21. That choice of language automatically places a negative spin on the baby's health, who wants to take a risk? I say the language should be "CHANCE", "there is a 'chance' your baby might have Down Syndrome." I think it is important that I point out that, at the time when we heard that Down Syndrome was a possibility for us, the words "risk" or "chance" would have been lost behind all the tears, but nevertheless, change starts with one small step.
3. Start here when you feel curious about Down Syndrome.
If you find yourself wanting to research info about Down syndrome, I have listed some the resources that I could find that offer really positive, accurate and helpful information about Down Syndrome. I have also added links to the blogs that I find interesting and informative.
Enjoying the Small Things - http://www.kellehampton.com/
Noah's Dad - http://noahsdad.com/
A Perfect Lily - http://babynumber10.blogspot.ca/
Momastery - http://momastery.com/blog/2012/07/07/birth-story/ I linked to this post because her candidness and willingness to accept a child with T21 is exemplary. I wish I had reacted this way when I was told there was a possibility of Down Syndrome.
Deanna Smith - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deanna-smith/i-wont-let-my-daughter-with-down-syndrome-be-defined-by-a-list_b_5757624.html - This mama turns the "list" of common DS characteristics into something magical, leaving all the sometimes negative stigmas that describe DS behind.
4. People with Down syndrome are NOT always happy!
It is a common assumption that individuals with DS are always happy. This could not be farther from the truth. Hazel experiences the same emotions as all other children. She gets frustrated, angry, sad, embarrassed and so on. She reacts to how she is being treated just as anybody else would. It is important that we try to be compassionate people in all our interactions with other humans, none of us like to feel vulnerable, and we ALL want to feel respected.
5. Feel free to read more specifically about Hazel, and how Down Syndrome is a part of our lives, by clicking any of the icons below.