What’s it Really Like to Mother a Baby with Down Syndrome?

A guest blog by Tiffany Yeary

When I received the news that my unborn baby had Down syndrome at around 12 weeks’ gestation, my reaction was not a positive one. I felt afraid, disappointed, and frankly, devastated.

What would life be like raising a child with Down syndrome?

I didn’t want to be the mother to a baby with special needs.  But my husband and I knew that no matter what, we were going to choose to have our baby and see where life would take us.

Our unborn baby was also diagnosed with a life-threatening condition called Hydrops and was ultimately given only a 5-10% chance of being born and surviving after birth. Against all odds, she came into this world overall healthy and right on time.

A little girl wearing a shirt that says "syndrome" and radiating pure joy with her infectious smile.

A little bit over a year has gone by now and our baby, Arabella, is 14 months old. The grim picture I had conjured up in my mind of what it would be like to have a baby with Down syndrome is quite different than what it actually looks like. 

My world is not shattered and my life is very far from being over.

I am tired, as any mom to three kiddos would be, but I am whole, and my world is far better because of Arabella being in it. Life is probably a little bit busier as we juggle physical therapy and feeding therapy appointments once every two weeks, as well as visits to the lab to get blood drawn on Arabella once every 3 months, with a follow up visit to her endocrinologist to manage her Congenital Hypothyroidism. But honestly, this is very much what reality looked like with my “typical” son as a baby and toddler as we dealt with food allergies, a feeding tube, and multiple specialist visits to diagnose and treat him.

An affectionate mother cradling her baby, both radiating joy. The mom's shirt proudly states "One Blessed Mother".

Everything I do for Arabella is beyond worth it, and my deep love for her lights the way and pushes me forward. The love Arabella has given to me and our family is beautiful and special, unlike a love I have ever known.

It’s not that I love her more than my other two kiddos, it’s just that it’s different. She is a beautiful soul who is a bright, joy-filled light. As I go about each day, most of the time I don’t even remember that Arabella has Down syndrome. To me, she is just Arabella—an amazing little person who is way more similar to my typical kiddos than she is different. I am very lucky to be her mama and I honestly wouldn’t change a single thing about her.

Life as a mother of a baby with Down syndrome is a good one.

Follow along Arabella’s journey on Instagram @abellamiracle. Share this blog with your friends and family to help spread awareness during National Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

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