I was 5 months pregnant when I learned that my child was coming to me with Down syndrome. The following months were confusing, but I never doubted my love for him. I loved him from the second I saw the second pink line on the pregnancy test, and since then a single day hasn’t gone by without me reaffirming how much I love him. The day he was born, I felt how love can materialize in front of my eyes, seemingly out of nowhere. For the first time in my entire life, I felt in my hand, glory transform my life. I cried out of joy, excitement and also confusion. I held him in my arms while I squeezed him tight to my chest, and I told him: “You don’t even realize yet how much I love you.”
We faced several tests, genetic exams and unexpected additional diagnoses. Cold and empty comments filled our lives for a couple of months, but at the end of the day, after looking into his eyes, everything was worth it. I could only feel grateful for having a miracle sleeping soundly right in front of my eyes. While he was asleep and in the middle of his dreams, I always whispered to him, “You don’t even realize yet how much I love you.”
His 1st birthday was a big celebration. By then he had already earned a reputation as a fighter. He overcame severe anemia and several blood transfusions. He preferred to be mobile using his little blue car. He was just starting to crawl and knew how to perfectly say “mommy” every time he felt hungry or tired. Before my eyes, this child didn’t present any kind of developmental delays. Instead, he was unique, and all his achievements arrived at the perfect time. I never compared him to anyone. With every triumph or challenge, and every tear of joy or desperation, I told him again and again: “Never forget how much I love you.” He would smile back to me.
He kept growing and transforming my life with his love. He stopped being a baby to become a big boy.
It’s been more than 9 years since then. Every day he wakes up ready to start a new adventure. He loves learning, he’s charming, and he loves super heroes. He’s proud to walk to the school bus top, and doesn’t want me to take him to the door anymore. He no longer fits in my arms and I can’t even hold him in my lap anymore, but there’s never a day that passes that I don’t tell him: “It doesn’t matter how tough our lives may be. In your triumphs and challenges, you know how much I love you.”
He always replies with a smile as he tells me, “I know, mom. I know”
A couple of week ago, I awoke to the touch of his hands rubbing my head. When I opened my eyes, he said: “You know how much I love you,” and I really did know.
Our children are the reflection of the love we give to them. Despite our mistakes or bad days, they need our words and action of love to feel liked and to give that love back to us and the rest of the world. An extra chromosome is not what makes these children loving and affection people, it’s the love we teach them that becomes just one of their incredible abilities.