The image that many people associate with mothers whose children are suffering from Down syndrome is: dark circles under her eyes from tiredness and from sleepless nights, old, shabby boots that trudge from house to the workplace, sallow skin, hands tired from lifting and carrying her disabled child. The image is completed by the conspicuous lack of her husband, who hadn’t received the perfect child he had wanted, and thus has simply left her, changing his address and family. However, even though the life of this mother is not a fairy tale, it is not as much of a hell as some still seem to think. It is never simple, but all adversities can sooner or later be overcome.
Illness is not a choice
Not too long ago, it was thought that a sick child was the mother’s or father’s fault. However, this has no relation to the actual medical causes of the syndrome, and more precisely, to the genetic ones. Cases of these births are very rare, especially in families where this condition has not occurred before. Today there are prenatal screening tests, which allow to diagnose the disease while the baby is still in the mother’s womb. But making the choice to keep the baby doesn’t mean the parents chose illness. Because the illness could happen to anyone – and no one is to blame.
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Even today, in the world of many educated specialists, there are cases where a doctor announces the news just after birth and adds that the mother can leave the baby and it will go to a more caring environment – to an institution. Doctors, as you can see, are still helpless in the face of Down syndrome. But it can be different: people working in foundations and centers for these children can teach parents how to deal with a sick child and have a fulfilling family life, reorganized to suit the needs of the child.