Thursday, 14 October 2010
Nope, not boobies. While I am a huge supporter of what Dan is doing with his Save the Boobs campaign, I am not talking about that.
October also happens to be Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Below are a few facts that you might not know.
- One in every 733 babies is born with Down syndrome.
- There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.
- Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels.
- The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. However, due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35.
- People with Down syndrome are at an increased rick of congenital heart defects, hearing problems, respiratory problems, Alzheimer disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Thankfully many of these conditions are now treatable and allow people with Down syndrome to lead healthy lives.
- Low muscle tone is a common physical trait in Down syndrome as well as small stature, an upward slant to the eye, a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Like everyone else, people with Down syndrome are unique individuals and will have some or none of these traits.
- Life expectancy of those with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent years. It was 25 years in 1983 and today the average is 60.
- People with Down syndrome work, attend school, make life decisions, and contribute to society in all ways. Many will marry and have wonderful life long relationships with their partners.
- Researchers are making great strides in identifying the genes on Chromosome 21 that cause the characteristics of Down syndrome. Many feel that it will be possible to improve, correct, or even prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the future.
I got that information here. As you all know I can spout facts and figures all day long, but my life goes beyond that. I live with this every single day of my life and have done so for the past 3 and a half years.
Here is what I really want you to know; I wouldn't change a single moment of these last 3 years. Emily is the most amazing gift our family has ever been given.
I knew next to nothing about Down syndrome before they placed my angel in my hand and dropped the D bomb. I was terrified and so unsure of where we went from that moment. I look back now and laugh at how groundless my fear was. We went where every family goes with the addition of a blessing; home (after a tour of duty in the NICU) and into a life full of joy and love.
Yes, we have setbacks. Emily had to have her heart repaired at 8 months old. She didn't start walking until the age of two. Just recently she began to eat with utensils. But here is the thing, every milestone has been achieved. A dear friend put a quote up on her Facebook the other day and it is so very true.
Every child is gifted, they just unwrap their packages at different times.
I hope that in some small way I have helped people to discover that Down syndrome is not something to be feared, but embraced. I mean really, who could resist this gorgeous face??
This is indeed the face of Down syndrome. Do not ever count her out because she will take great joy in showing you just how very wrong you were do to so. In the picture is my other beautiful daughter, Whitney. The love that all the children show for Emily is something that is simply mind blowing. I really am the luckiest mom on the planet.