My cousin unknowingly gave birth to a DS baby last night and I am wanting to know, from mothers who have had a DS baby, what the best way to offer her support would be?I have an 8 month old boy who is, metaphorically speaking, "normal" and I feel apprehensive and guilty about this and don't know if it will make her more upset and emotional if she sees my baby. How can I best offer my support in this highly emotional time for her? Would I be best to keep my son away from her while she deals with this grief? What did you find was the best support you received? And did it make you feel upset when you were around "normal" babies? I want to be there for her in the best way possible. Please help!!!
i think its great you're putting so much thought into this for your cousin!
Of course, I dont know her personality...but I wouldn't be offended at all...i think most imporantly, you can love her baby, and treat it and care for it like you would any other child... maybe offer to babysit so she can get some errands done, or go out for a nice dinner....just think of all the things you might offer if the baby didn't have Down's...
She will be grieving though...but that will pass.... I think we all have to take time to grieve for the baby we imagined, for the life we imagined for them... takes a lil time to readjust the thinking, but it does happen!!
I think the best thing you can do is treat the baby as if you'd treat any other baby. He/she is a baby first, the Down syndrome is second. Read up on any recently written literature about down syndrome, and be a part of the child's life.
First of all- CONGRATS on the new baby in the family!! I can't agree with Jaber more-
babies are babies first, the DS is second. Medically speaking I didn't 'know' my son had DS before he was born. The triple screen came back 'borderline positive' but follow up u/s showed no markers. However, about a week after the news of possible DS came from my DR I had a dream (Yep, corny as it may sound.) In that dream stood a little 3 year old boy...he had blonde hair & blue eyes.....and DS. He told me his name was Andrew. (That's the name we had chosen.) Guess what?.....my son has blonde hair, blue eyes and is named Andrew. He is absolutely the most joyous, beautiful, wonderful little 14 month old! His personality shines at you from across the room.
Oops, sorry to go on about Andrew like that- got carried away.
I think the point I'm trying to make is this: That new little baby is a baby....first and foremost. Treat him/her like any other. As for your cousin....it depends on her personality. maybe you could just ask her how she feels about seeing your son...maybe she'd be just fine with it. It didn't bother me to see other babies after my son was born (personally I thought mine was cuter anyway...LOL) It is a little tough to see children the same age as my son walking & saying their first words when my son can't crawl and only says a few babbles. BUT, I have a way of looking at it that helps me.....I know what those moms 'have' with their kids, I have 3 typical kids of my own. Those moms will never know what I have with my 'special' child. They won't know that extra special bond/love/joy that comes with an extra chromosome. Your cousin (and her family) will soon know all about that joy.
I second the congratulations! My cousin had a child with Down Syndrome 4 years ago and when she was first told the news, she was in shock. She thought of all sorts of horrible things, stigma, etc. and had a hard time bonding with her newborn. My mother and I went to see her the day he was born and she had not yet taken any pictures or really held her baby. We both took pictures and held him and told her what a beautiful baby he was. Shortly after he was born, I began working at a local nonprofit organization that was a preschool for children with special needs. I now work at a different preschool for children with special needs and I have seen all sorts of children with different dissabilities achieve milestones that were thought by doctors to be unachieveable. I have witnessed adult volunteers with Down Syndrome come in and perform tasks that I would not consider to be menial. My little 4 year old cousin is now in a preschool of his own, plays soccer, has many many friends and will be going into kindergarten for typically developing children next year. Tell your loved one not to be scared of this. She will see her newborn child as the best thing that ever happened to her after she feels the emense unconditional love that child has to share. I love my job. I see these children who are often looked down upon go through their therapies and achieve their goals all the while never realizing that there is something "wrong" with them. I figure, if they don't feel disabled, why should I look at them as though they are?
BP Puff&Stuff- you just gave me chills and happy tears with your post! How wonderful! I would just love to have your job with the special needs kids. However, our area has so very few special needs kids that one ECSE teacher at school handles all of them easily....so there's not much room for me- yet. hehe!
I've always wanted to go back to school for something in the medical feild after my kids are in school. That was, until 14.5 months ago when Andrew was born. Now I have a strong desire to become an Early Childhood Special Ed. teacher. Andrew's own ECSE teacher has told me that, when I get my schooling done she'll be about the right age to retire......and she'll recommend me for her position!