Kia Ora from Auckland, New Zealand!
My name is Pip and I’m mum to Oscar. He’s the youngest of four awesome boys, and our little surprise! We had no prenatal testing and only found out that he had Down syndrome at birth.
In fact, when Oscar was born there was much anticipation in the delivery room (and with family at home) as to whether he would be a boy or a girl. After 3 boys we were expecting a girl! The girl’s name was sorted, the boy’s name not so much. I remember the obstetrician telling us that we had a boy and my husband and I realising we need to sort out a name!
Shortly after his birth though, and sadly before I had a chance to hold Oscar, a doctor was telling me that he was showing signs of Down syndrome. As those words swirled around me it felt like my heart broke into a million tiny little pieces. I was devastated and felt very detached from this baby of mine.
There was a lot that I didn’t know. All I knew were some very limited facts and perceptions, some of them, to be honest, not very encouraging. I jumped straight to all the moments ahead in life where I thought life would be hard for him. I didn’t know what our lives would look like and I was scared. Normal life for us as family I thought was over.
Since that moment though, it has been a time of discovery. Of learning that there is nothing to fear and that love indeed drives out fear. That there is more hope than despair. More to celebrate than to mourn, more moments to savour than to regret. More joy than sadness.
Oscar may have Down syndrome but that’s not a definition of Oscar’s life. I might not have known much about Down syndrome, but I also didn’t know much about Oscar! I didn’t know that he would snuggle into you like a koala. I didn’t know that his smile would light up his whole face and for that matter whatever room he was in.
I didn’t know he would have a great sense of humour. I didn’t know that he would love books, baths and balls or indeed that bath would be one of his first words. I didn’t know that he would have sheer grit and determination and would time and time demonstrate that he’s got this.
Thank you to Oscar’s brothers – your sheer joy and excitement over your new baby brother helped my heart begin to be pieced back together. Now, each and every day I get to see your unconditional love for him demonstrated by hugs and yes sometimes over exuberant affection. As Oscar has got older, you all play together and laugh a lot! You proudly show him off at school. Your lives aren’t worse as I feared, they are so much better!
Oscar has taught me to stay in the moment, in the present. I can still have little doubts and fears of the future. But day to day, it is a wonderful and happy life. Oscar is enjoying life, and so are we.
To Oscar. My brave and joyful one. You have certainly brought the x factor to our lives. Your gorgeous personality makes an impact on everyone you meet. Your chuckles fill our home. We treasure the love you bring. You know no limits. You are my little warrior.
Our lives are richer, fuller and blessed with you in our lives. Life has continued as normal, as a family enjoying life and having fun, going on adventures and having Oscar has made the adventures and our lives even more richer.