"How could we ever fully understand the love and happiness that this little boy would bring us!
The beginning of my pregnancy started an unexpected journey. At 16 weeks of pregnancy we were told that our son had some form of a genetic disorder and that we should terminate the pregnancy. We were devastated to learn that our son would have a tougher experience in life and we had no idea of the challenges that were ahead. The one thing we did know was that we would have to be strong for him.
The truth is... This was very hard. Through the next weeks of pregnancy I was always sad. A different kind of sad that I had never experienced before. This was a sadness of guilt that moms feel when hardships come our kid's way. I was honestly devastated. I cried and cried more than I think I had ever cried before. Not knowing what life would be like for my son or how things would turn out. When I was about 22 weeks pregnant, we found out that the genetic disorder or syndrome that he had was, Down syndrome. The final diagnosis came almost as a relief. We now knew what to plan for a little more. We spoke with other parents that had babies with Down syndrome and I read lots of blogs choosing only the positive ones, of course. I looked online at pictures of the most adorable, cute little babies with Down syndrome. This gave me hope and I began to really connect with my son in my belly.
As far as pregnancies go, he was actually a very active baby and my pregnancy was without any other complications. Still, if only I knew then what I know now, that he would be just as active if not more once he was born. Well soon enough the day came for my delivery. By that point we accepted the diagnosis, but we had no idea what would come. We didn’t know if he would spend days in the hospital. There was still so much unknown. The one thing we did know was that we loved him already so much and we were so excited to meet him.
The moment he was delivered we saw that he was this perfect little baby boy just like any other baby! He was beautiful. He was perfect. His diagnosis of Down syndrome existed but it didn’t define him. He was Hawke!
Since then he has filled our lives with love, so much love and laughter. He is a toddler in every way now and of course, has his moments as all toddlers do but it’s all a blessing. Every day we celebrate him and all that he is and can do and what he brings to our lives.
If I could go back and tell my 16 week pregnant self anything, I would say, “It’s going to be okay, better than okay! He is going to be everything you thought having a little boy would be, and yes he has Down syndrome but it doesn’t define or limit him in any way, so embrace him, protect him, enjoy him!"
To us, Down Syndrome Awareness Month allows a bit of a spotlight to shine on the stories of families with children with Down syndrome. It lets us share our experiences of what may have started as heartbreak but actually ended up being a story of love and joy and our kids filling our hearts more than we could ever have imagined."
Expressions shared by Ariel Mora. Ariel is a mother of three. Her youngest child is her son, Hawke.
See links below that Ariel recommends to be helpful and educational resources that have supported her family: