Raising a child with Down syndrome – our baby is our happy pill

I’m excited to introduce another extraordinary mom who cares for her child with special needs.

Her name is Emerald, a full time elementary school teacher for the last 12 years, who juggles her time between work and taking care of her family of 5. She is happily married to Jonathan, with whom she bore three kids- 18 year old Amber, 11 year old Jozsa, and Hailey, her special child.

Emerald did not want another baby after her second, but even though her pregnancy was unplanned, when she gave birth and found out that her baby was special, her motherly instinct brought her to act and soon she learned that raising a child with Down syndrome has its big struggles but soon discovered and realized that ” our baby is our happy pill,” and having her in their lives brought more meaning and joy to their family.

 

Caring for a Down syndrome child briings joy and fulfillment

 

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How old were you when you had your special child and how did you know that she was special?

” I was 36 years old when I gave birth to Hailey. She was like an accident/ unplanned pregnancy, I stopped taking pills because I had heart palpitations and I got pregnant! I had mixed feelings then, I was not ready for another child.

When Hailey was born, the attending physician already suspected that she was special because of her facial features.

We confirmed that she has Down syndrome when the result of her karyotype test came out on her third month.”

How did you and your family react to the news that she was special?

“The moment she was born, the doctor told us of her suspicion.

The rest of the day, I kept staring at her, afraid of what might happen.

My husband, who was away at that time, never learned of her condition because I was thinking it might affect his work. I waited for 3 months for him to finish his contract and that was the time when we brought Hailey to the city to confirm her condition.

Her two other sisters couldn’t really tell that time that she has Down syndrome because for us, she just looked normal.”

Describe your special child, including her health concerns and developmental milestones.

” At 2 years and 4 months, Hailey is our “happy pill. ” She always has a smile for everyone plus a big hug to offer.

Generally speaking her development is late, compared to kids her age. She started walking at 1 year and 8 months. Because she has poor muscle tone, her physical activities are limited. Despite this, she enjoys dancing, sometimes even without music while looking at herself in the mirror.

She is able to run as well, but we have to guide her because she just runs in any direction without thinking of her safety.

Hailey started eating solids when she was 6 months old, and at present she has a big appetite especially for pasta dishes.

She had a hole in her heart and she had a series of 2-D echocardiograms for monitoring until it closed at 1 year of age.

Hailey also has concerns with her thyroid hormones, thus she is being seen by an endocrinologist regularly.

She talks one word sentences like ” hello,” and able to point to food or cry if she is hungry.

Hailey used to have frequent cough and colds when she was less than a year old, but never had any serious illnesses. “

Your Down syndrome kids deserves the best clothes from Gymboree

Awesome clothes for your special child

Do you have struggles in taking care of your special child? How do you manage?

” Being a working mom, it has always been a struggle to care for
Hailey.

We have to hire nannies, but they give me stress because they
cannot offer the same care and love that I can and believe that Hailey needs.

Being sickly when she was younger, we were scared of what might happen to Hailey.

Her developmental delays were also a big factor in our struggles.

With the strength that God gives us, we manage to care for Hailey despite the challenges. “

Is Hailey attending therapies at present?

” No, Hailey has not undergone any therapy. It was always our desire to let her have therapies, but because we live in the province, with no available therapist, we’re just happy how she is developing on her own.

She loves watching musical programs on the television and dances with the music.

Because I’m a teacher, I try to make her learn by letting her scribble with crayons as much as she can and read to her every day, especially with picture books. “

Keep memories in a photobook

Share with us how she makes you and your family happy.

” Hailey is such an angel, she offers us unending expressions of love.
She kisses us and hugs almost everyone.

Her milestones give us the biggest delight. They make us appreciate the simple things in life.

When we are feeling gloomy, just looking at her smile brings back the sunshine in our day.”

Do you have any fears about her future? What do you hope that Hailey will achieve or will become someday?

I hope and pray that her older sisters will never get tired of to care for her and provide for her needs when I and my husband are gone.

As she grows up, I just wish that we can give her learning opportunities for her to fully develop her highest potential. I plan to enroll her in the Special Education program here in our town. I’m excited for her to start school, thus as early as now, I have actually talked to the teacher already.

If she cannot finish college I hope she will be given opportunities where she can be productive and independent, thus will be happy and fulfilled of the things that she can do.”

Any advice to parents especially moms on how to take care of a special child?

” My biggest advice is to give your child with special needs your never ending love. That’s all they need.

Accept their incapabilities and treat them as normal, though of course caring in a special way. Surely they will give back in ways that they know.

For new moms having a child with special needs – cheer up, he’s a blessing from God, a gift wrapped in a more colorful packaging.”

Children with special needs are gifts from God

Parenting a special child has its shares of struggles, but if these are considered challenges that you parents can overcome, then focusing on the growth and development of your child and being joyful of his milestones is no feat at all.

Like Emerald and her family  who has embraced Hailey and her slow development, every milestone reached even though delayed deserves appreciation and only then will our special child feel that she is loved unconditionally and nobody can take that away from her.

 

Are you a parent of a child with Down syndrome or any child with special needs? How is your experience in raising him or her? Please share your story with us.

 

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Published by

Marita

I am a doctor by profession who had several years of clinical practice as a Pediatrician and General Practitioner. At present, I work as a Clinical Research Assistant in a large university. Pangga ta ikaw remembers fondly a loved one who passed away and making her demise more meaningful. Supporting children with special needs in our hometown in the Philippines through Special Education is our main focus and through this website, we also aim at making everyone realize that special kids need our love and support.

44 thoughts on “Raising a child with Down syndrome – our baby is our happy pill”

  1. It’s really special to have a kid with down syndrome. The way you and other mothers on this blog approach the matter is something that is really respectful. I hope you all continue to live a happy life with your wonderful children! You and them really deserve the best! Be sure to give it to them no matter what.

    1. Thank you for taking time to read. I really appreciate your wonderful comments here. And yes, our Hailey will surely get the best care that she deserves😊

    2. Hi Antonis,

      Kids with Down syndrome are angels in our midst- I say this again and again. I had a sister and 2 nephews  and living with them brings joy and immeasurable happiness in our family.

      They truly deserve unconditional love because they give back more than we offer.

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

  2. Wow! You are such a great mom with a big heart. I like this article so much, it shows a lot of dedication and the sacrifices a mom can do for her baby. Indeed I agree that Hailey is a great blessing to your entire family and the best you can do is to take care of her to the maximum. 

    I like the motivation your have given to parents with such children. I remember reading a story of some parents who used to lock up their challenged kid to a point whereby he couldn’t see sunshine for 10 years. They were ashamed of him! 

    I like your courage and willingness to share this information about the condition of your daughter despite her condition and indeed God will bless you.

    1. Thanks for your nice comments to Emerald about how she takes really good care of her daughter, Hailey. Parents like her are indeed a great blessing to our special kids.

      God bless,

      Marita

    2. Thank you for taking time to read.I do hope that parents with children who have special needs will love their kids the same way we love our Hailey. They shouldn’t hide them or be embarrassed being with them.God has a way of giving them back for taking care of His creations.

  3. I think those with down syndrome are truly very beautiful people.  Those who care for them are the same.  It takes really special people to care for those with special needs and I commend and appreciate them so much!  What a great article and interview you have here.  She’s right, not just with her daughter, but with others.  Those with down syndrome have the best smiles.  They’re very contagious 🙂  And I love them 🙂

    1. Thanks for appreciating and loving people with Down syndrome. Indeed they have the greatest smiles and they’re so contagious.

      Their smiles make our days.

      Thanks for reading!

      Marita

    2. Thank you for taking time to read. I and Hailey are sending our love to you across the globe.God bless you.

      Emerald

  4. Children are the happiness of their parents no matter what happens.  I salute your courage ma  and envy your enthusiasm in taking care of your child.  I have seen a couple of children that were abandoned because of one challenge or the other. Seeing our children bring happiness to us and seeing them grow.. 

    Growing up as a child was challenging and I usually think that my friends who were special children were ill treated and much disadvantaged not until I knew the efforts invested into them by their hard working  parents.  It’s in right thinking that mothers are unique beings and deserve to be cherished.. 

    Take it up dear, you are not alone. 

    ….always remember,  our children are our happy pills. 

    1. Hi Olonisakin,

      Thanks a lot for recognizing the efforts of parents especially moms like Emerald in taking care of their kids. It’s doubly hard for these parents when their kids are special like Hailey.

      But of course their struggles are seen as challenges and their kids are their “happy pills, ” like you said.

      God bless,

      Marita

  5. Helping children is always an amazing situation to be in. I loved the story, and hope you find many more great stories to add. I grew up living next door a girl with down syndrome, we played pack-man on Atari and rode sleds in the winter. We drove a 4 wheeler and and went swimming in the summer. She had a couple cats and loved them so much. Your story brings back memories of my childhood. I love, keep up the good work, and I wish you the best.   

    1. Hi Lance,

      Nice to know that you had memorable experiences developing friendship with a girl with Down syndrome and your childhood was indeed extra happy because of that.

      I bet she didn’t expect much from you, just getting by on a day to day basis.

      Thanks for reading and for your nice comments

      Cheers,

      Marita

    2. Thank you Lance. So happy to hear our story bring back good memories.
      Sometimes being with people who have special needs make us discover that life can be simple yet we can find joy just being with them.In this modern world simple joys can sometimes be elusive.

      Hugs from Hailey!
      Emerald

  6. Being one of the best teachers I’ve come across, her dedication towards her profession will pale in comparison when it comes to raising Hailey. All the best, ma’am!

  7. I really love teaching children with Down Syndrome. They are adorable, sweet, always happy and one of best to work with. Kudos to Hailey’s parents for staying strong and raising her well.

    1. Hi Rica,

      Teachers like you and Hailey’s mom who are so passionate in your craft always deserve applaud and recognition.

      Kids with Down syndrome are truly a happy bunch, always full of smiles and laughter.

      God bless,

      Marita

    2. Thank you Rica..indeed children with Down Syndrome are one of the sweetest people on earth.They’ll shower you with lots of LOVE through their kisses and hugs.Sometimes that’s all we need to ease us with the stresses of life.

  8. Hi, Marita,
    I love your blog. You have shared an awesome post from such a lovely lady. I have two children and it took me some time to leave my children on their own. I still don’t like doing it and my daughter is nearly 17.
    So I cannot even imagine having to get anyone to fulfil the place of a momma of a Downes Syndrome child. I am not dissing this. I just hold you and this Lady in a special place and I admire you all and these wonderful children.
    Marita, I also work alongside you. I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate.

    I hope to be as courageous as you are and as hardworking as you are too. You are so helpful to others who have just started In W.A. I have a great admiration for Women like you. So I felt compelled to come by and say Hi, and to say thank you too.

    You are a friend an awesome Lady with compassion and you are always helping others and I know you barely have the time for yourself.
    You always amaze me as does this article of yours. You are a brilliant and kind teacher. I am so pleased to have met you, Marita.

    Just goes to show what super busy ladies can achieve and people don’t even know it. You are such a caring brilliant woman.

    Thank you so much Your Friend.

    Deborah

    1. Hi Deborah,

      I’m lucky to have met you at Wealthy Affiliate,as well. With your achievements at online marketing, you inspire me so much.

      Indeed, parents especially moms have guilt feelings if they leave their kids with nannies or the daycare. But of course, we have bills to pay and our families need support, so we have no choice, we just have to work and be confident that the caregivers that we choose for our kids take care of them just like their own.

      Parents of Down syndrome kids, like Emerald and two of my sisters and my mom deserve lots of commendation for being there for their kids even though they have jobs outside their homes. It’s really a struggle for them but they are able to turn these into challenges that they are able to cope.

      Moving on, I believe this is my purpose in life, to let everyone know that special kids are there for us to love and support and acknowledge that they can be productive if guided and cared properly.

      I know life is busy and time is my struggle, I just slowly do whatever I need to do, continue my online journey and hopefully success is just around the corner.

      Thanks for the uplifting comments.

      Cheers,
      Marita

  9. Haley sounds like a wonderful little girl.  I had my son when I was 40 and so they did the test to check for chromosomal abnormalities.  Everyone wants a “normal” baby.  When I got the call that my baby had Klinefelters Syndrome, of course I thought of the worst.  BUT, they immediately told me that I needed to do an abortion asap, and I promptly changed doctors.  No way was I doing that.  My son has special needs, a little different from down’s syndrome, but special still.  I would never trade him for anything in the world.  He is the sweetest, best son I could ask for and I love him no  matter what.  This was truly a great post.  Thanks for sharing!

    1. Reading your lines, I got scared that you heeded to abort your baby and thank God, you decided to keep him.

      I always say that special kids are “angels “in our midst just like Hailey and your son. Their innocence gives us the greatest joy.

      How old is your son now? 

      Hugs to him,

      Marita

  10. I deeply empathize with Emerald. I understand where she is coming from also, NO nanny or childcare provider can give my son the type of care and love I feel he deserves.  I know that in a couple of months I will have to go back to work and have to put my son in childcare and it will be so heartbreaking because as a mommy, I want to be with my son always. I know how this mother feel. I feel like Hailey looks normal too! One thing I am reminded to do as a mom, from this article, is read more to my son and let him express himself more. 

    Hailey comes off as a sweet girl. There is a stigma around those who have Downs Syndrome that they are a “handful” to take care of and that they are aggressive and have outbursts. But that is not the case at all for this little girl. She is clearly a sweet little angel and the delight of this family.  God bless them.

    1. Hi Sophia,

      Definitely only the mom and dad can give the best care ever to their kid, most especially if they have special needs, like Hailey.

      I appreciate that you want to read more to your son so he will learn to  express more.It is also a very valuable bonding time for you both, in that he will develop more trust in you as his mom. 

      I haven’t personally met Hailey ( I will in December, hopefully ) but she looks really sweet and lovely. 

      Lastly, I’d like to share with  you that Down syndrome kids maybe a handful because they have special needs but usually they are fun to be with, they’re easy to please and they laugh and smile a lot. I grew up with a sister who had Down’s but she passed away a few years back ( this website is named after her ) and I also have 2 nephews who are Down’s and they are so adorable, although they are not communicative.

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

    2. Sophia,
      I am almost teary eyed reading your comment.Really difficult leaving our child behind to a stranger so we can work.I’d say though maybe caring for children with DS can be quite difficult sometimes but the expression of love they give can more than compensate the efforts we do.

  11. Thanks for sharing this interview! It’s important to bring awareness to the fact that kids with special needs are just as lovable as those without. I have a new baby of four months. I didn’t get her tested during pregnancies for abnormalities because my husband I knew that no matter how she turned out, we would love her anyways.

    1. Hi Nicole,

      Congratulations on your new baby!

      I love your and your husband’s attitude about your child that whatever she will become, you will love her all the way.

      Just be very observant as she grows up and if you notice something different or if you have doubts about anything, go see her Pediatrician right away for assessment.

      Are you breastfeeding in any way?

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

  12. I’ll be honest.  This story brought a few tears to my eyes.  You see, twenty four years ago my wife and I were overjoyed with the arrival of our first (and only) grand child.  At birth he was diagnosed with a heart condition called aortic stenosis which required open heart surgery.  Our close family was over joyed when my son and daughter-in-law finally brought our new grandson home. 

    He seemed like a normal child until about 18 months old at which time his behavior started to change.  This eventually led to a diagnosis of autism.  Our son went through an extended period of denial that his son had autism, but soon became an avid researcher on the subject including alternative therapies for removing heavy metals (mercury, lead, and aluminum) from his son’s blood stream. 

    My grandson went through our local special needs school system and has become the “special” person in our family.  He is very loving, not antisocial at all, and has nearly a photographic memory.  He will never live an independent life, but is our family’s “happy pill”.    

    Our family loves sports, and my grandson is an avid sports fan.  He played in the Special Needs “Challenger Baseball” league where many of his team mates were Down Syndrome.  They always tended to be the best athletes (boys and girls) in the group and were happy, go lucky kids.   

    1. Hi Dennis,

      Thanks so much for sharing about your grandson who is now an adult,  I believe.

      Since he was diagnosed early and given supports right away, I hope he is doing well and coping with everyday life, though might still be having some assistance.

      Glad to know that he is also active in sports like the rest of the family because it is a good exercise and a great source of joy and relaxation for him.

      A big hug to your grandson.

      Marita

    2. More than the fact of being featured and sharing our story what makes me happy even more are being able to meet people around the globe through their stories and finding comfort that people from all over also have their own stories to tell.

  13. Hi Marita,

           Your website is a great resource for any parent whose child has challenges, like Hailey. Parents of these children should love them even more than is possible, they are so special and affectionate to everyone.I wish the world would give more opportunities to special needs children so that they could live a happy and fulfilled life.

    All the best 

    Fintan

    1. Hi Fintan,

      Parents, especially moms of special kids like Hailey, definitely deserve honor and recognition for taking extra care of their children  despite working full time outside the home, like Emerald.

      Our communities now have lots of support for these kids, but in the little town where Hailey lives, there’s only the Special Education program and Hailey is still too young to attend. Meanwhile,  I encourage her mom to look for a musician who could offer her music therapy, even though this music lady is not trained to be a therapist. 

      And by researching online, Emerald can also find ways to support the development of Hailey. 

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

  14. Some people say that it must be terrible to have a sister with down syndrome, but they’re wrong. Having Hailey in our life has made us a lot happier and has given us a more positive view of life. She’s like our little angel in disguise. A blessing sent by God. Anything that she achieves we all cheer and clap our hands, and we all have a massive smile on our face. 🙂

    1. Hi Amber,

      I’m so happy to learn that you enjoy having Hailey as a sister. She is so lucky to have you, as well- loving and supportive of all her achievements.

      Hug Hailey for me.

      Tita Marita

  15. Salute for you Ma’am Ems! I can still remember your feelings when I visited you in the hospital. My heart melted when you cried saying that Hailey is with down syndrome. I told you that she will be give joy and happiness to the family. I admire you so much because you do everything for Hailey. You keep on reading and researching online how to raise a kid like her.

  16. Hi,

    Wow, what  a story! Emerald really is a fantastic mother and inspiration to any women in the same situation. Of course it can be difficult at time but it is always worth it for our children! 

    Unconditional love is what they need and is what they will always give us! 

    Always nice to read about nice stories like this.

    I wish them both the best!

    Cheers,

    Mguel

    1. Hi Miguel,

      That’s what I always say- our special kids need unconditional love and parents, especially moms like Emerald, are able to face challenges and really be there for them.

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

  17. This is both heartwarming and heartaching. I personally think that DS babies are the cutest babies. I hate to hear about all the complications, it just breaks my heart. I am thankful that the good Lord gives these parents the strength and guidance they need to be strong and steady for their children. 

    And thank God for a site like this that connects those in need of these support links and ideas. I am warmed by the news you share here. Thank you

    1. I know, DS babies are cute and very lovable. And as they grow up, they learn to share that love to everyone, just like Hailey.

      There might be some complications for these kids, but with regular doctor visits and monitoring, they could always be helped.

      Thanks for the appreciation of my site. It inspires me to work harder.

      Marita

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