I am sure many people wonder what it’s like to raise a child with Down Syndrome. To be
perfectly honest, it’s not very different from raising a typical child. At times, it’s actually easier.
Yes, there are the early intervention classes that Blake has attended since he was 9 weeks old,
learning and teaching him sign language along with doing therapy follow-up with him during
play time. Other than that, there’s nothing extra we do for him that we don’t for our other kids.
We read to Blake, play with him, sing to him and treat him like we would any other child. Blake
has slept through the night since he was 6 weeks old, he is a great eater and a pretty easy-going
toddler most of the time.
We’ve been blessed with the fact that Blake has been extremely healthy
since birth. He had surgery at 2 months to treat pyloric stenosis, which is completely unrelated to Down Syndrome. He had ear tubes put in at 9 months and other than the occasional cold, he’s been a super healthy boy. So, in many respects raising Blake has been much easier than raising Alexa or even our twin girls, Kayla & Brianna. There is definitely less drama with Blake.
We do recognize that it’s a much slower pace with Blake. It will and has taken him a bit longer to reach certain milestones. He has amazed us with his persistence and dedication and is doing amazingly well in our opinion. Yet, we definitely notice that Blake is delayed compared to any other 19 month-old typical child, and we’re OK with that. We’ve accepted Blake’s disability.
Although the road to “acceptance” was not an easy one for me personally, I’m glad to say that I’m in a much better place now. Learning that my son had Down Syndrome was the hardest thing I’ve experienced in my life and I’ve had my fair share of losses. I lost my father and sister at a very young age. But somehow learning that my child had a mental disability was something that turned my life upside down. I honestly thought I would never laugh or feel joy again.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that an experience like this could have torn my family apart yet it managed to bring us back together making us stronger and closer than we’ve ever been before. I’m a new person because of Blake. I like to think I’m less judgmental, more compassionate, patient and accepting of life’s challenges. When I see my son now, I see Blake not Down Syndrome. I needed time to fall in love with my son, accept him as he is, and realize that God chose me as his mother for a reason.
Regardless of this disability, we have high hopes for Blake’s future. We don’t want to
underestimate his abilities. We will do everything we can to help him reach his full potential. This is one of the reasons why we chose to have another child. We wanted a rich home environment for Blake and another child to help our older daughter, Alexa, look after him once Ryan and I were gone. We also knew that siblings were the best therapy for Blake. God once again had different plans for us, since he gave Blake two more siblings (identical twin girls) instead of just one.
For those of you who are reading this now and have gone through, or are going through a similar experience, all I can say is it gets better each day and I wouldn’t change a thing.
– Trina Sessler