I know there are a lot of proud moms out there. And, I know that not everyone is totally into every little milestone that babies reach...even MY baby! (gasp!) However, I have to tell you that I feel a strong need to brag about my baby, show her cuteness to random strangers passing by, and let others soak up a little bit of her snuggli-ness. I may come off as a bit self-absorbed and pushy, but here is why...
I want to build up a "bank reserve of acceptance" of some sort in my heart for my daughter.
Even in this age of increased education about Down syndrome and ever-expanding opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome (and other intellectual disabilities), prejudice still exists. Begin just by considering the percentage of women who, when told that their unborn baby has Down syndrome, choose to abort the pregnancy--a number that I've read is around 90%. Further, consider how you might feel if time and attention was being "taken away" from your child at school because a child with a disability was in the classroom. I hope that you can see how your child might grown in their acceptance of others through this experience, but I imagine it might challenge you in some ways.
Anyway, I mention this because a friend recently shared with me some hurtful comments she overheard being made about her child. I know that in the future I will have my own batch of comments to face. And, I know that there will even be times when I won't be able to shield Meredith from these remarks...there will be some that she will hear and have to overcome on her own.
But...she's so perfect! She is so beautiful! She is making wonderful progress! I imagine that, at this point, unless we've shared with you that she has Down syndrome or you frequently work with children with disabilities, you probably wouldn't even know. So, right now, please indulge me. Listen to me talk about all the little stepping stones we pass along--rolling over, laughing, and maybe even starting food soon! Let me enjoy the random strangers in Target who stop me and say, "Oh, she has such gorgeous hair!" And help us build our "reserves" so that when the difficult times come, we have a cushion of positivity to help us bounce back.