I stole this from another mom on CafeMom. Many of our blogs have newly diagnosed moms searching for answers and stumble upon us, so I encourage you to share this also.
If you or someone you know has a child with Down syndrome we're here to help. Dealing with something of this magnitude can literally change every aspect of someone's life and those around them. It's like a whirlwind of emotions sweeping across you day in and day out. We understand that turning to a friend or family member can sometimes be hard when it has to do with your child. So, we're here to pass along some great information about coping with a child who has Down syndrome.
Dealing with the Emotions
When it comes to an issue like Down syndrome, the best thing to do is seek out experts. They can give you the proper education on what Down syndrome is and what you can do to deal with it. Most importantly, all the myths will be explained. For instance if you've heard about your child possibly having to go to a special school it's not true. Think they'll have to be put in an institution when they get older? Not true. There are many misconceptions related to Down syndrome so be sure to keep an open mind about the situation.
Get Into Support Groups
This is one of the hardest decisions to make for any family dealing with Down syndrome. Why? Well, if your doctor has given you a pre-diagnosis from tests and analysis it's easy to go into denial. We aren't telling you this to upset you in any way, but the realization is that it's very common. When you first go to a support group there is a sense that you are giving in to all the speculation and admitting your child has Down syndrome. However, this is a crucial step for anyone wanting better ways to cope.
Support groups can offer you the opportunity to converse and build relationships with others who understand what you are dealing with on a daily basis. Discussions will revolve around different actions you can take to put your mind at ease. There are also many groups that pass around phone numbers. This way if you are having a tough day you can call someone and explain your situation. They may be able to give you sound advice on what routes to take to make it better.
There are several benefits to being involved with support groups. In the end you will make several new friends built around your children and their future. You never know, your child may grow up having several friends that come from the support groups as well. While things may be different in society for them, having others by their side in the future will be a monumental accomplishment.
Explaining the Situation to Your Family
When it's all said and done family members are the most difficult to tell. While they will want to support you whole heartedly, the lack of knowledge about Down syndrome can be hard for you to explain to them. It's very common for several questions to be thrust your way and all this does is create more stress on you. Answering the same things over and over again becomes overwhelming and it's not good for your current situation.
One of the best ways to handle family members is by telling them you don't want to talk about it. In addition, be sure to tell them why. If they are planning to learn more about Down syndrome to help you then offer them places to go for information. If you're up to it ask them to go along with you to a support group meeting. This way they can get a feel for what others have been dealing with for years.
The Most Important Coping Method
If you take one thing from this article, just remember to have patience. Don't sell you or your child short on all the things that life has to offer. Remember that there are going to be frustrating days ahead, but nothing is impossible. You have a loving child right there to hold, teach, and be a parent to forever. The only difference is you have to take a different route to get there. We wish you the best of luck and hope you pass along this information to anyone that needs it. They'll thank you for it later.