I got a call two nights ago from a friend of mine, lets call her Abigail. She was looking for the title of a book about a child with DS. I was curious, as to why she was looking for this title, as she really never showed an interest in Peanut or the DS. Abigail told me she wanted it for her friend who had had a "Down syndrome baby in Trenton, NJ". She said that the girlfriend needed some good reading. Instead of the book she had called me about I recommened another title, The new parents guide to Down syndrome, as it had more relevance and was quite abit more reputable. Abigail then asked me what she should say or do for her friend. The DS was a surprise and mom is very upset. So it got me thinking back to when I had Peanut. What would I have wanted to know about or have had said to me to make me feel better? My first thought was congratulations! You could not even begin to imagine the number of phone calls I got that sounded more like condolence calls then new baby welcoming calls. Let me tell you how depressing that was! It was such an insult to my family and to me.
The other thing I would tell a new parent would be that people are stupid. They say stupid things when they are unsure of what to say. That it is so important to treat people as if they are stupid and you need to educate them about DS and what it means. Without the education people mean well, but can really insult another persons feelings. So I guess the underlying theme would be to give the benefit of the doubt. Assume that people meant well, even if it might have come out wrong.
Ok, so now I pose a question to you: if you could go back in time to when you first found out about your childs DS, what would you have liked to have heard? What could someone have said, or did say, that would have been so helpful to you?