There are many stories of how a negative experience from doctors when delivering a diagnosis of Down syndrome can have lasting effects on parents for years to come. What is not often heard is what it looks like when a parent receives the right support, correct information, and is allowed to face the world with hope and optimism like all new parents should.
When early scans indicated there was a high chance my unborn baby had Down syndrome, it was a shock and it was hard to hear. I had planned to birth at a Birthing Centre staffed by midwives but the way they handled this information was the making of my parenthood instead of the breaking of it. I was given time to sit with the information and allowed to have all the feelings. I was given all the information about what this diagnosis may mean in terms of health outcomes and developmental outcomes but I wasn’t pressured to make a decision quickly. My decision to continue with the pregnancy was respected and no one tried to change my mind.
When I reached out to Down Syndrome Victoria later in my pregnancy, I was welcomed into a new family by people who had been there before. I left their offices with arms full of books, someone to talk to and stories of the positive life I could expect for my baby.
This excellent attitude and respect meant my family and friends were also reassured about what this news might mean. By the time Wade was born, his birth was a celebration not a tragedy. I feel excited about my son’s future and confident that he can have a good life. I truly feel that this came from starting his life from a place of love and support not tragedy and burden.
By Leticia Hodson
Read more about DSA’s position on providing good information when a diagnosis of Down syndrome is delivered.