The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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The Day My Life Changed
The Day My Life Changed

My life changed in February 2008, when Meg was almost 2. 
Her Easter Seals PT, Stephanie, told me to go crawl around our house to see life from her perspective.
As I drove home I wondered,  "What's life like from Meg's perspective?"
I thought about the day she was born.  Many people cried that day, myself included, but I never questioned Meg's tears.  I wondered, “What was Meg crying about?”
I know babies cry, but I kept wondering about her tears specifically.
I thought maybe that day she also learned of her Down syndrome diagnosis.  That news surprised us, maybe it surprised her too. Maybe she had to recreate her own dreams. Maybe she was afraid.  Lots of us were.  Maybe she was scared too.
Then I had a thought that changed my life.  While I was pregnant, I imagined a "perfect" child.  I had hopes and expectations for who she was going to be.  When she arrived and we heard the diagnosis my initial reaction was sadness. I had thoughts of "This wasn’t supposed to happen!"  "I can’t do this." "I don’t want to do this."
Maybe in those first few minutes of meeting me, she had similar thoughts.  Maybe during those months I carried her, she dreamt of her "perfect" mother and had expectations of me.   When she arrived and realized I'm not beautiful, brilliant, rich, or perfect she was sad.  Maybe she cried disappointing thoughts of "This lady wasn’t supposed to happen to me!" "I can’t do this!" "I don't want this mom."
The thought that I was the disappointment tore me to pieces. Understanding that I might be the promises unfulfilled, the dreams not realized, I began to beg for a chance.
"Please Meg, I know I'm not perfect, but give me a chance."  "No one will ever love you the way I can!" "Don't give up on me Meg, I'll spend every day of my life working to make you proud." These were some thoughts I had as I begged forgiveness for the fact that I'm not perfect and asked for acceptance.
Meg's Down syndrome is a blessing. She gave us courage to adopt Alina.  She helps me be a better mother to all four of my kids.  She inspired me to change careers and advocate for people of all abilities.  She has given me a voice to speak against ignorance and hate.  She has helped me to love myself.  I'm not perfect, but I no longer feel as though I have to be as long as I'm trying my best.  She helped me see that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities. She has given me patience, laughter and love.  My life is so much different than I imagined yet so much better than I ever dreamed. She has taught me that life isn't about having kids that make me proud.  Rather it is about being the type of mom, wife and person my family can be proud of.  

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Comments (1,000 character limit)

Fr. Daniel Ebker, United States, IL
10/3/2016 12:02:43 PM
Just read your story, after seeing one about vandalusm of your home & video of your sons... God bless you & know that your love is great witness to the world!

Eliza Derick, United States, DC
05/16/2012 19:48:01

Melissa Sage-Bollenbach, United States, IL
05/16/2012 00:05:42
So proud of you and your family!

Nancy Davis, United States, IL
05/15/2012 22:06:11
Beautiful, touching story

Bill Lawrence, United States, IL
05/15/2012 21:12:19
As beautiful this time as the first time I heard it.

Helen Mitchell, United States, FL
05/15/2012 20:05:00
Anne, What a beautifully written story! You are definitely beautiful (inside and out), brilliant and perfect!

Kelly Welch, United States, IL
05/15/2012 17:10:59
Wonderful story. I have the pleasure of knowing the Hollis Family.

Kim Sarff, United States, IL
05/15/2012 14:50:35
I love this!

Mary Brown, United States, IL
05/15/2012 14:41:42
What an amazing story.

Leslie Schellenberg, United States, IL
05/15/2012 14:08:02
Every child is precious and teach us way more than we could have ever imagined. Thanks for sharing your story!

Marita Baginski, United States, PA
05/15/2012 14:00:12
The Hollis family ROCKS !!!!

Laurie Dierker, United States, PA
05/15/2012 13:20:28
This family continues to impress me with all their work and involvement with children with Down's Syndrome. They are a blessing to watch and know.

A. Whitbread, Canada,
05/15/2012 13:00:17
What an incredible story by an amazing mother.

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