What is Down Syndrome?

Everyone gets 23 chromosomes from their mother and 23 from their father for a total of 46- that’s 23 pairs of chromosomes! Down Syndrome (DS) is a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra 21st chromosome so people with DS have 47 chromosomes instead of the typical 46. Your chromosomes are your genetic makeup. That is what makes you uniquely you! Your genetic makeup is responsible for what color your eyes are, the color of your hair, how tall you are, and so much more!

Down syndrome is not an illness or a disease. You cannot “catch” Down Syndrome and you cannot “cure” Down Syndrome. The chromosomes you have are with you from conception all the days of your life. Chromosomes cannot be altered or deleted through any means scientific or spiritual. You cannot medicate or pray someone’s genetic makeup away. Chromosomes make up part of your very essence as a person. We would never want to alter our boy’s essence. He is an absolute blast.

The first Mother’s Day after we found out we were expecting Henry my belly was still completely flat and we hadn’t told anyone, but my husband pulled one of the classic expectant-dad moves and bought a bag full of pregnancy and parenting books. I have included my favorites in the following affiliate links. The ever essential Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too! was among them. Also in the bag was the extremely helpful The Bump Book of Lists for Pregnancy and Baby: Checklists and Tips for a Very Special Nine Months because I do love a list and as a first-time mom this was invaluable. Not knowing what to expect was one of the scariest parts of new parenthood for us which is why we began with the books. Yep, we are book people. Roll your eyes if you must, but everyone begins somewhere and we started with the books. My husband and I prepared by reading everything we could about new baby life, but we knew almost nothing about new baby life with a precious one with Down Syndrome. The first book we read after bringing Henry home from the hospital really helped open our eyes into exactly what Down Syndrome is and is not. I highly recommend Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parents’ Guide if you are new parents to a baby with Down Syndrome, want to educate yourself, and don’t know to begin.

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