By Kelle Hampton
It was numbness at first -- the absence of emotion as if the capability to feel anything fled the moment I gave birth to my second daughter, Nella, and recognized something was different. "She has Down syndrome," the pediatrician gently informed me. I held my daughter and begged to feel anything. The tears and grief came soon enough so that by evening, I was curled into a ball in my hospital bed, my daughter wrapped between my arms, crying those gasping, clutching-for-hope sobs.
Hope. That's really what parenting is all about. We hope our children will be loved and accepted. And though I felt as if my world had come crashing down the moment I found out she had Down syndrome, really it was my hope that took a blow.
But hope rebuilds. So many of my initial fears have been replaced with the glorious reality that having a child with Down syndrome is not the end of the world but rather the beginning of an inspiring experience. These past two years with Nella have blessed us with so many things we, at first, thought we'd have to give up. She sings, dances, and heartily laughs at her big sister's silly faces.
And the bonus gift? I have changed. I have been enlightened with the power of perspective and learned to recognize that beauty comes in many different forms. More than anything, I know never to doubt the power of my love for my children. It is my constant anchor.