Thoughts on A&E’s Series ‘Born This Way’

I love reality TV. I’ve been watching it for years, starting with the Real World. It’s entertainment where I don’t have to think or concentrate very hard like with some other TV shows. So when I heard that there was going to be a reality show about young adults with Down syndrome I was very excited. Yes, in falls in the category of reality TV and who knows how much is edited or even scripted, but this new show was going to give me rare look into the lives of young adults with Down syndrome.

I was not the only one excited. My mom friends in my DSDN Moms Facebook Group were chatting about anticipating this first episode all evening. Why were we all so excited? This was going to give us a glimpse into our children’s future – what it was potentially going to look like, how they may act, how they may socialize. All of this is very unknown to us moms of 1 year olds.

The general consensus was it was a fantastic show. The 7 friends in the show who hang out together were articulate, social, and caring. They have parents that love and appreciate them. They were independent in many ways such as holding their own jobs. But still, the skeptic in me wondered who these individuals are. Are they a good example of the population of twenty-somethings with Ds? Or is a better example those that I see in my Facebook group of experienced parents where they are mentioning their 20-year-old’s symptoms of dementia and cognitive decline? And just as I am writing this I am realizing that I’m playing the same guessing game that I did when I was pregnant…is the baby going to have a good first year or is she going to spend months in the hospital and endure surgeries like I’ve seen in my forums? I realize that I have to keep reminding myself that every individual with Down syndrome is different.

Overall, the show is a wonderful tool for parents of babies with Down syndrome, like me, or parents that are expecting as it displays the possibilities of what our children can do when they become adults. It paints a very different and better picture than the one that is painted when you first hear “your baby has Down syndrome”. I am definitely looking forward to watching next week’s episode.

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