Here we are March 2014 approaching World Down Syndrome Awareness Day and I am excited to see all of the great strides the community is making in terms of therapies, out-reach, and integration. Society as a whole has become open to educating themselves on Down Syndrome and a worldwide acceptance of people with Down Syndrome has initiated change in the way we view others. Being able to see this all unfold & being an advocate for my son Michael for all of the above mentioned is a happiness that is unexplainable. DS parents are holding the bar higher for their children. This is incredible and a necessity! We are no longer accepting that our children cannot accomplish all they set out to do. That everything is within their REACH! as it is for us. When I read about a fourth grader with DS, learning alongside children without DS, attaining all A's I am wow'd! I personally, didn't even accomplish that. Young adults with DS living on their own, commuting on the train in and out of the city every day, I am amazed! I have never done this. Teenagers with DS that are not only winning medals on their high school swim team but also a member of their National Honor Society. I am ecstatic! I am excited for my son Michael's future just as I am for my daughter Lily and son Mack. I could go on and on about people that I know with DS living life to its fullest and quite frankly, that's more than I can say for some of society moving along, treading water and settling for mediocrity.
With every eye opening positive A-ha moment that I have (several since having children) there is always the flip side of the awakening. Most times a realization, that as humans, we are losing the meaning/purpose because of ego. Ego encompassing power, pride and prejudice. I recently just read, Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and it has helped me justify my purpose, has breathed new life into my already motivated being and has left me wanting to shake people and wake them up. Some days even myself. As a collective group of people we accept okay when we could be OUTSTANDING! We graciously greet defeat when we could get in the ring, guns blazing taking on our biggest challenge: ourselves. We have allowed ourselves to become our own worst enemy. Entirely not our fault. We live in a different time than our parents and grand parents. Opportunity did not exist as it does today. Travel and the internet has put everything within our REACH! The old mentality is still a stigma that hangs over us. Reprogramming our minds from what has been instilled since childhood can be a daunting task. But is your life worth the effort? Is your child's life worth the time?
This is why I am an advocate for life when it comes to unborn babies with DS. Although, my stance is pro-choice (even though it is something I would never be able to do) I feel that terminating based on the mere fact that the child has DS is a sad reflection of ourselves as a whole. It is easier to keep our personal bar low, to hide behind a veil of ignorance and untruths. In life, there are no certainties, DS or not. But certainly, children without DS get sick, can encounter life changing tragedy, and can grow to have learning disabilities. I ask you, what will be your solution to those dilemmas?
Raise your bar. Get educated. Share truths. Accept differences. Love without limits.