The other day a friend posted a question in a support group for mom’s with a child who has Down syndrome… “What are some hurtful things people have said regarding your child with Down syndrome?” Here were some of the over 500 responses:
“He must not have a bad case of it, you must really work with him”
“She must only have a touch of it, she’s so pretty.”
“Was it a bad egg then?”
“Don’t worry; he’ll out grow it.”
“At least he will die in your life time so you won’t worry about him after you are gone.”
“How downs is he?”
“the down syndrome doesn’t really seem to be affecting him”
If you pray enough…. (Also, have faith enough, anoint with oil, have the church pray over her, baptize her, repent, read the Bible in the greek/hebrew, pray for a miracle…..) God may heal her.
“Sometimes God gives a few special people a large cross to bear in life”
“God will change your baby’s DNA if you believe!”
“Did you drink (do drugs, vaccinate, smoke, partying, ate the wrong things…) while you were pregnant?”
“It’s because you had sex…. with someone of another race, outside of marriage, while you were having your period, someone you didn’t know you were related to”
“Have you always wanted to adopt a baby with problems?”
“There are surgeries and therapies out there that can help make her look not so Down Syndromey”
“You can cure down syndrome by breastfeeding and giving him vitamins.”
Needless to say…. we still have a lot of work to do in educating people in our day when it comes to not only Down syndrome but about disability in general. These mama’s I know tend to respond in grace and a desire to see change in our society happen. But also, sometimes it makes you want to go off on the question asker or disown family because it HURTS! And rarely once educated do people come back and ask for forgiveness for their insensitivity and selfish perspectives.
So…. next time a friend receives a diagnosis or delivers/adopts a child with Down syndrome (or any syndrome for that matter) Sit with them as they process…. but be the first to say “I’m going to let you process this, and while this might not be what you expected… I’m here, and I love this baby, and I think Congratulations are in order!!!
Don’t EVER say “I’m sorry.” They will get plenty of that from others.
We want to be the ones who know now what everyone with a child with an extra 21st chromosome will eventually discover… that there is NOTHING to be sorry about!