Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 for 21: Day 25 ~ Bringing People Together

I swear that October is THE busiest month of the year for my family. Now it's doubly so since I'm trying to blog every day for this challenge. That being said, please forgive me for my brevity this evening. Blogging is one of at least 15 different tasks for the night.

What I wanted to talk about in this brief moment is one benefit of having a child with T21. The day that I began to fall apart (realizing that my baby probably has T21), I felt horribly alone. Four months later, I know that there is a huge community of people living with T21 and with many, many people who love them. Children with T21 do many things well, even if on their own timeline. One of the things they seem to do from birth is bring people together.

The reality is that parenting is a very competitive world these days. There are all kinds of books and products designed to help us be "better" parents; there are all kinds of gadgets designed to make our kids "better" kids. We are judged by society (in particular, other parents) on how well we're doing in raising our children to reach their full potential. This is very evident, for example, on a common baby forum website where there are birth clubs. The clubs consist of a group of women (usually) whose children were all born or due in a particular month and year. I have four kids and so I've lurked in no less than four of these forums at any given time. And I keep seeing the same drama and pettiness and competitiveness over and over. Don't get me wrong ~ it's not all bad, but it gets old, really fast.

The board for Down syndrome is vastly different. The caring and empathy evidenced there by people living with these special children is apparent in every post. 99% of the time, they are helpful, tactful and caring. The other 1% is shameless bragging on their child's most recent accomplishments, which is also completely accepted and welcomed.

Since I've found this particular forum, I've found that my wandering online quest for knowledge about T21 has greatly decreased. I find comfort in the knowledge and experience of those living parenting journeys similar to my own and it has lowered my anxiety surrounding the mysteries of what lies in store for my family. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would have gained such peace from perfect strangers!

So tonight, I just want to say "Thank You" to my virtual friends who are working together to support one another in loving our kids for all the chromosomes they've got, not just despite the extra one. That is all...

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