Here at Gerber Childrenswear, we aim to share parenting journeys of all kinds, all year long. We're excited to share Tailynn's journey with her son, Aspen. Our hope is that Aspen's story encourages embracing differences.
Hi! I’m Tailynn. Wife and stay at home mom to two boys, Dayton and Aspen. Aspen happens to have an extra chromosome. Advocating for Aspen & those with Down syndrome is something I never thought I’d be comfortable doing. It’s definitely taken a bit for me to step outside my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I have. I’ve made wonderful relationships, and I hope I can help change the narrative for Down syndrome. Shifting how others view our children and spreading awareness one post at a time.
Inclusion in advertising. Inclusion in all forms of media. Just inclusion. It’s something extremely important to me as a mother, but more importantly, as a mother of a child with Down syndrome.
Showing a range of different abilities in the media shows everybody has a place in this world. Inclusion of different abilities in advertising is important to me because I want Aspen to always feel a sense of empowerment and belonging. Whether we like to admit it or not, media has the power to shape now we see others and how we see ourselves. I want him to grow up seeing he too is represented—not hidden away. I want all children to be seen, feel seen, and know they are worthy.
I want others to be more educated on individuals with Down syndrome. I want them to see Aspen as an individual, not only see his chromosomes. I want it so much for my boy’s future.
So while this may not seem as big a deal to some people, it has ignited something in me. Even if inclusion in the media can help just one child, or even one scared mother who sees a child with Down syndrome in advertising or while scrolling through a business’ social media page—and it puts a smile on her face—that means the world to me.
I am so so thankful for where our journey has taken us. To the wonderful brands like Gerber Childrenswear and other small shops we’ve worked with thus far who shared either Aspen or other children with Down syndrome—I noticed. I noticed that some brands we worked with started to really branch out with showing more and more children with Down syndrome. It makes me so so proud and so grateful.
Sometimes, I let it bother me when I think about people treating my little boy differently, and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t break my mama heart just a teeny bit because they don’t see my boy how I do. But you can’t focus on the negatives in life. God has given me my two great blessings and I know there is a reason I feel him pushing me to make a difference: To truly help our community and push outside my comfort zone to make sure both of my boys always feel that sense of worth, belonging and self confidence.
Did you know that 1 in 20 kids have a disability? That gives 19 kids a daily opportunity to learn about and embrace diversity and inclusion.
Please teach your kids to see the abilities, to be kind, and to celebrate differences. Different is beautiful and it deserves to be celebrated. I saw a quote the other day that really resonated with me:
“Let’s stop ‘tolerating’ or ‘accepting’ difference, as if we’re so much better for not being different in the first place. Let’s celebrate difference, because in this world, it takes guts to be different.”
A favorite book of ours is “The World Needs Who You Were Meant to Be” by Joanna Gaines. It holds the lesson that embracing differences and accepting others for who they are makes for a beautiful adventure. “All of us can be kind, compassionate, and gracious. All of us can be helpful, considerate, and courageous.”
We are so thankful for Gerber Childrenswear in helping us shine Aspen’s light. Helping us shout his worth as well as the others in our lucky few communities by using their platform to spread awareness and show there’s so much beauty in Aspen’s diagnosis. It means everything to me, and I know it means the world to others as well.