When Avery was first diagnosed, we were told many things, mostly about how hard our life would be, how difficult. He was presented to us as a set of complications. What they left out was Avery. No one told me how beautiful he would be. No one told me how sensitive he would be. No one told me he would hug me with his whole body, wrapping arms and impossibly nimble legs around me at once, such a strong embrace. No one factored in love.
—First Words by Jennifer Graf Groneberg
excerpt from one of the essays in
2008 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA): Gold Award
2008 Mom's Choice Awards Silver Recipient, Special and Exceptional Needs
“This fine book helps dispel the fear and misinformation about Down syndrome that many parents and prospective parents face. As these deft essays convey, the world would be a sweeter place with more Down syndrome citizens, not fewer.” —George F. Will
“Gifts is honest and life affirming, a chorus of mothers proclaiming what every obstetrician and gynecologist should know - that life is a gift and an extra chromosome is not the end of the world.” —Beverly Beckham, columnist, The Boston Globe
“Through Gifts we hear the powerful voices of mothers who said ‘yes’ when others might have been saying ‘no.’ These mothers take us on their journey filled with wonder, courage, and the belief that children with Down syndrome can and will succeed.” —Brian G. Skotko, MD, MPP, Children’s Hospital Boston and Boston Medical Center Author, Common Threads: Celebrating Life with Down Syndrome
Having a baby
with Down syndrome is not something most parents would willingly choose. Yet many who travel this path discover rich, unexpected rewards along the way. In this candid and poignant collection of personal stories, sixty-three mothers describe the gifts of respect, strength, delight, perspective, and love, which their child with Down syndrome has brought into their lives.
The contributors to this collection have diverse personalities and perspectives, and draw from a wide spectrum of ethnicity, world views, and religious beliefs. Some are parenting within a traditional family structure; some are not. Some never considered terminating their pregnancy; some struggled with the decision. Some were calm at the time of diagnosis; some were traumatized. Some write about their pregnancy and the months after giving birth; some reflect on years of experience with their child.
Their diverse experiences point to a common truth: The life of a child with Down syndrome is something to celebrate. These women have something to say -- not just to other mothers but to all of us.