To the grieving Grandparents who just received a Down syndrome diagnosis for their grandchild. It is understandable that you are grieving as it is not uncommon, and unfortunately sometimes you are forgotten. Your grieving is probably twofold as you are heartbroken for both your grandchild and your child. This is not something you wanted for either one of them, but you must keep in mind that this is a different Down syndrome and not the Down syndrome you probably know. This is not the Down syndrome from the days when you were having children where the child was recommended to be institutionalized. This is not the Down syndrome where the child lived at best until the age of 25. This is a Down syndrome that is treated early with many therapies so that the child goes to school just like any typical child. The child even grows old enough to go to college, holds a job, and may even get a drivers license. The child will grow into an adult, live independently and may get married, living possibly well into their sixties. And as for the family, studies show that parents of children with Down syndrome are less likely to divorce and siblings thrive.
You are not alone as many grandparents are sad and confused by this news. So do your grieving as the shock wears off, but do it quietly. Do not burden your child with that as they have their own emotions to sort through. They cannot afford the time or energy to be your therapist right now. If you are reading this on the internet then you have the capability to do your own research. There are many organizations such as the National Down Syndrome Congress, National Down Syndrome Society, and the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network that can give you up to date information.
Support your child with whatever path they take on this journey. It may not be in your plans, but their child is not your child. Have the confidence that you raised your own child in such a way that they will do their best. Having children is a leap of faith and the moment you decided to have children, you decided to possibly have grandchildren as well. This child will be one of your most amazing gifts in life.
Thanks to Gigi’s grandparents who love her unconditionally.
A version of this article appeared on The Mighty on February 15, 2016.
October is Down syndrome awareness month. This month I am participating in a blog challenge for Down syndrome awareness. Click the link below to see a list of more blogs posting for Down syndrome awareness during the month of October…