When I learned that my newborn daughter, Fern, had Down syndrome, I was sure I had been handed a life sentence of misery and heartache.
I distinctly remember ranting to my friends that I did not want to be in the “Mothers of Kids with Special Needs” club. To me, that club was for unhappy people whose lives were ruined and all I wanted was to terminate my membership.
It was hard to enjoy our new baby when there were so many unanswered questions about Fern’s health, happiness and potential.
Amid the churning angst was a beacon of steady light. I’ll never forget the summer picnic hosted by the Centre County Down Syndrome Society, where members — normal, happy people, were eager to greet us and our brand new baby girl. As Fern was passed from one mother-of-a-child-with-special-needs to another, I sensed they weren’t looking at her to see what was wrong with her the way other moms did. They were looking at her the way I now look at children who have special needs, appreciating everything that is good and right and promising. That peace of mind is immeasurable.
The Centre County Down Syndrome Society is participating in the Centre Foundation’s Centre Gives online fundraising challenge on May 5 and 6 because we want to continue to be a resource for enriching the lives of people who have Down syndrome, and supporting the people who love them. Learn more about what we do at ccdss.org.