It’s Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Here’s What You Should Know.

Abigail Sacran, Founder of Spreading Sunshine

For Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I was asked to write a blog post about Down syndrome. This month has me feeling a little sad, somewhat reflective and looking forward with hope. 

I remember sitting in that green, rocking recliner at Lebonheur Children’s Hospital, having learned of David’s Down syndrome diagnosis. I always wondered why it was green. Such a terrible color! 

I have thought and thought about what I should write. What do I want people to know about Down syndrome? To be honest, I’ve struggled with what to say, because, in all honesty, I don’t think about Down syndrome too often. 

Then I thought, “That’s it!” 

During Down Syndrome Awareness Month and every other day of the year, I want people to know that I don’t think about that extra chromosome very often. Down syndrome doesn’t consume me. It doesn’t consume our family. 

This could not be said for me when David was born, and I was sitting in that green recliner.  That version of me sat and cried as she held up the baby boy with almond shape eyes. She mourned the loss of who she thought David would be. She felt sorry for Louis and Lily because, in her mind, she had somehow delivered “less” of a son and sibling. Angry and bitter, she was determined to fix David and make him as typical as possible.

Oh, how I tried! Every therapy! Every supplement! 

I will never forget the moment that I broke free from this mindset. David was 2 years old, and I was changing his diaper. I don’t believe that God audibly spoke to me, but I do believe I heard Him say, “Abigail, he’s not broken.” Remembering the shame I felt, I also remember how completely freeing it was to truly grasp that David was who God wanted him to be. 

David is seven now, and I don’t often think about him as having Down syndrome. He is David. This is our family. This is our life. He is not less and our family structure and relationships lack nothing because of his extra chromosome. David has given our family a new perspective on life, love, joy and innocence. For this, I would say our family is forever thankful. 

Because of David and because of grief I have suffered since David, I am stronger than I ever knew. It’s not me, though; it’s God in me.

He is faithful. He is good. He does not lie.

True to the girl in the green recliner and true to me today.