My Child With Down Syndrome Is Not A Gift From God

In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I’ve lined up a few guest posters. This one is by Hallie Levine Sklar, a mom of three and (fabulous) writer who blogs at Visions of Johanna

A couple months ago, I was playing at the beach with my three small children—Johanna (Jo Jo), aged 4, Teddy, aged 3, and Geoffrey, then 15 months—when a 40-something woman came up to me.

“Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous,” she said beaming. “I’ve been watching her for a while.”

“Thanks,” I said. Jo Jo is four, and has Down Syndrome. People often stare at her. It might be because she has Down Syndrome, but I also suspect it’s because she’s so darn cute. Today, she was wearing a hot pink bikini and strutting around the sand singing. Her blonde hair was pulled up into two tight pigtails and except for an occasional snot bubble she looked pretty adorable.

The woman kept standing there, awkwardly grinning. “I’m pregnant!” she finally said.

“Great!” I exclaimed. “How far along are you?”

“About three months,” she said. Then she burst out: “I think my baby has Down Syndrome.”

So that’s what this is about, I thought. “Why?” I asked.

“I didn’t do any prenatal testing” she said brightly. “But since I’m 42, I think it’s very likely.”

“Um,” I said, really not sure what to say. “Not necessarily. I was only 34 when Jo Jo was born.”

“Well,” the woman said, “I have to admit, I’ve been so worried about Down Syndrome that it’s been keeping me up at night. But after seeing your daughter, I feel so much better. She’s such a little angel.” Her voice lowered. “In fact, I think that you’re at this beach now for a reason.”

“And what would that be?” I asked distractedly. Jo Jo had grabbed Teddy’s shovel and pail and was pirouetting around her younger brother, who was now screaming “No, no Jo Jo!” and trying to get it back.

“God sent you here,” she said. “So I wouldn’t be afraid of having a baby with Down Syndrome. What a beautiful, special little girl. What a gift.”

“Um, yeah,” I said, thinking, that’s exactly what he did, honey, when Jo Jo whirled around and whacked Teddy right in the head with the sand pail. He wailed. She smirked and then whacked him again.

“Jo Jo,” I yelled, trying to separate them.

My daughter looked at me and beamed at me with her sweetest, most heart-melting smile. “Sorry Teddy,” she said, embracing him with a warm hug. Then she yanked at his hair so roughly he fell face down in the sand.

Mass pandemonium ensued. Jo Jo got a time out. As mortified as I was by Jo Jo’s behavior, I was kind of glad the woman had seen it. Not such a little angel now, is she? I wanted to say, but instead I shrugged my shoulders apologetically. “Five o clock meltdown,” I said brightly. “I think it’s time for us to go home.”

The woman stared at Jo Jo, wide eyed. “I guess,” she said finally.


When I gave birth to Jo Jo, people came out of the woodwork to tell me how “special” kids with Down Syndrome were. They were so sweet, so lovable, always so happy and up for a snuggle. So’s my Labrador retriever, I wanted to say snidely, but I kept my mouth shut. I knew people meant well, but the stereotype of the cheerful, cuddly kid with Down Syndrome was hard to swallow.

Now, four and a half years later, I can say with relief that those adjectives don’t really describe my child. My husband Jamie and I actually realized pretty early on that Jo Jo was one tough cookie: when she was five days old, she shocked the entire NICU when she pulled her post-surgery feeding tube straight out of her nose. When one of the nurses proclaimed her a hellion, we laughed. “You bet she is,” my husband said cheerfully. “She’s our daughter.”

And it’s true. While Johanna may have 47 chromosomes, her full genetic makeup comes straight from us, her parents. She’s got my husband’s impish grin and his impulsiveness. She’s got my pointy ears, my stubbornness, and, quite frankly, my Jewish princess tendencies (especially the love for shopping!) There are people out there who refer to individuals with Down Syndrome as possessing a “magic chromosome” or a “gift from God.” But we think Johanna is magical and a gift simply because she is our adorable, bubbly, vivacious, yummy little girl.

In fact, I think painting kids with Down Syndrome as innocent little angels has the potential to be dangerous, or at least to do them a disservice. It refuses to acknowledge that kids with Down Syndrome are actually human beings with issues and concerns of their very own. I know Jo Jo tries to please, and be a good girl, but like any child, often it’s hard. She’s not as verbal as other kids her age, and because of that, sometimes she communicates her frustrations by say, hitting one of her younger brothers, or throwing something since she’s not able to articulate what she really wants.

I wish I had been able to say all of that to the woman at the beach, who probably left that day after witnessing my kids’ Extreme Meltdown wondering if she really still wanted to reproduce. I want to tell her that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether your child has Down Syndrome or autism or ADHD or any other developmental or behavioral issue. Your child is your child first, and anything else is secondary.

Sure, Jo Jo is a child with Down Syndrome, just like her brother Teddy has a severe peanut allergy and her other brother, Geoffrey, has albinism, a condition that’s left him visually impaired. She is who she is—not an angel, or a divine gift, or anything other than a flesh-and-blood little girl who loves singing and dancing and twirling around the room with her grandmother’s old silk scarves.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Read posts from Ellen at Love That Max:

A Bill of Rights For Parents Of Kids WIth Special Needs

Top 20 Reasons Moms Of Kids With Special Needs Rock

20 More Reasons Moms Of Kids With Special Needs Rock

Add a Comment
Back To To The Max
  1. by Sally Kennedy

    On October 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I so agree with you. People have said that to me since my son was born – 24 years ago! He mostly acts just like anybody else his age, good and bad. He is a little behind maturity-wise, I think we finally left the surly teen era behind us and the polite, helpful young man has returned. But he still gets frustrated with people and situations just like any of us. People should not look at him when that happens like it’s something horrible. I also resent that people think he should just love everybody when there are people he would rather not be around. He has that right.

  2. by Katy Epling

    On October 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Amen. Thank you for articulating so well what I think so often. My little guy with Down’s is 2 1/2, and he IS a blessing–just like my other two kiddos are. And is he also my most strong-willed and the one who drives me up the wall the most. It is easy to thank or blame Down syndrome for every little thing about him, but that just dismisses HIM. It’s important to let our children be who they are, no matter how many chromosomes they have.

  3. by jennifer

    On October 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    My daughter has Down Syndrome and I do believe she is a Gift from God, I wouldn’t have it any other way. She is my joy, my heart and my movatition. she keeps me going

  4. by Nisha

    On October 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I agree your child comes first everything else is secondary my Cerebral Palsy doesn’t define me.

  5. by Kim

    On October 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Enjoyed this informative story, direct from the parent.
    Our son is almost 9 years young. He is a boy first and foremost. He attends a regular school program with an EA assisting in class. Many people like to tell us “how cute he is”. He is a tiny build and can pass as a five/six year old, is soft and kind, sensitive at times. I simply reply, “thank you” and smile. (Expand on my thoughts if is appropriate.)
    He has brought much joy, fun, happiness to many lives, family and friends. But, don’t all children do that? Any way, thanks for expressing similar in your story.
    Regards, from Ontario Canada.

  6. by Deb V

    On October 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I believe ALL children are a gift from God. I have a son who has DS and two without. I believe each of them are gifts from God. To view a child as just “flesh and blood” really doesn’t value life as it should be. Might explain why there are so many abortions. Just my $.02.

  7. by Deb V

    On October 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    My comment was removed?

  8. by Kristin Pidgeon

    On October 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I love this post. I have had many similar experiences raising our daughter who is ten and has Down syndrome. I agree with you that referring to children with Down syndrome as angels takes something away from the person that they really are. All of my children are blessings. When our daughter was young I had a hard time in public because so many people felt it was okay to touch, kiss, stare and hug her, often referring to her as an angel or a gift! I didn’t realize that this was because of her having Down syndrome until I had my other children and did not got the same attention.

    Thanks again for your post.

  9. by Deb V

    On October 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    ugh! I tried re-reading the article since people were commenting with “this is how I feel too”. I’m just as annoyed with this woman (the author) if not more. Seriously? First she paints this woman who appreciates her daughter (where in most of society does NOT) as a moron. Nice. Then she goes on to state “not an angel, or a divine gift, or anything other than a flesh-and-blood little girl”. ALL children are a gift and blessing, I feel sorry for her that she can’t recognize the blessings she is surrounded by!

    Here’s an idea…how about appreciate the fact this TOTAL STRANGER recognized your daughter had value and purpose. Usually a given when a “normal” child is born. Maybe that’s why other “normal” children don’t always get that gift from God response. Ever occur to you, Hallie Levine Sklar? I thought not, too busy complaining someone else saw value in your daughter. Too focused she dared call your child an angel. I’d much rather someone tell me that than be told “why would you bring a child into this world who is going to suffer with DS?” My goodness! So disgusted with this woman!!

  10. by Nicole

    On October 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Read my mind! My son is also 4 years old, yells when he doesn’t get what he wants, purposely does things he knows he shouldn’t, and hits his younger sister. He also has Spina Bifida. I get the “gift from God” a lot too because my son is in a wheelchair (October is Spina Bifida awareness month as well, FYI). People will see me out with him and his 18 month old sister, and they say things like “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” or “God chooses special parents for special children”, and I hate it. I grin and bear it most of the time, but really just want to tell them that it has nothing to do with God and everything to do with biology. Ian’s spine didn’t fully fuse together somewhere around 28 DAYS gestation…before I even knew I was pregnant. He was born with a hole in his spine, and God did not put it there.
    The thought of God having something to do with it is comforting to some people I guess, but I don’t believe it, so those who say that to me aren’t providing any comfort to me, just themselves.

  11. by Jill

    On October 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Beautiful. My son has CP, and I come across so many people that think I shouldn’t discipline him or tell him no, ever. Behaving in that way would be such a disservice to my son. He is, like your child, simply a kid. Treating him like he’s always perfect and can do no wrong would, I’m pretty sure, turn him into an ungrateful brat…and who needs that?

  12. by Jill

    On October 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I also wanted to say that… your child IS a gift from God, all children are… submitted too soon on my last comment.

  13. by Aussiewoman

    On October 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I am afraid I tend to agree with DEB V’s point of view and I found this article distasteful. I know when I first found out my child had Down Syndrome I was devastated. I wish you could have had empathy and given this woman what she needed. Obviously God did not send her to you or else you may have looked outside of yourself and saw her needs instead of your own. No one believes our kids are perfect angels, but they have a profound affect on people that they come into contact with, more so than any other children could ever hope to, and I have 4 other children that I adore, but it is different with my daughter who has DS. I think you missed the boat on this one.

  14. by alexandra

    On October 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I disagree my brother has Down Syndrome and he truly is a gift from above and has taught me so much about life!

  15. by Patty P

    On October 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Did NOT like this article. Agree with Deb V from 10/22 @ 2:29, and Aussiewoman from 10/22 @ 4:00. The mother sounds like an arrogant, angry person trying to cover with politically correct descriptions of her daughter as just her daughter.

  16. by Lisa Magoto

    On October 23, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I find this article HORRIBLE! I have a child with DS and 5 others without. I feel called to educate those who wish to listen about DS kids, not be irritated by them. I feel sorry for this poor pregnant woman who happened upon the author. To her, I would say that, yes, EVERY child is a gift from God, yes I did worry more about DS the older I was when I was pregnant. However…you will find your own reality…that this child, like your others, is splendidly made! Why be so negative?

  17. by Sue Adelman

    On October 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Wow, all over the map with the comments. I enjoyed the blog. I totally agree that our kids are our kids first, and anything else second. Our daughter with DS is 16, born 2nd of 3 kids. She is wonderful, stubborn, sassy, and determined. It would have been wonderful for the author to be able to articulate all the wonders and challenges to the mom to be, but when (not if) that meltdown occurs (because kids melt down, all kids) plans change… I thank the author for the honesty and the laugh she gave me at the beach scene :-) . We are all working towards perfection, none of us are there…

  18. by Shira

    On October 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Wow, Deb, Patty and Lisa, you’re just as judgmental as people who make cruel comments to/about people with disabilities. I saw a mother who sees her beautiful child as more than a collection of chromosomes, not the negative, angry person that you clearly saw through the lens of your own agenda. Shame on you.

  19. by gigi

    On October 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I think the main point the author was trying to make is that when we ONLY describe our children as being “blessings from God”, or “gifts from God”, or “angels sent from heaven”, we tend to diminish or completely negate their humanity. I’m pretty sure the author wouldn’t argue that ALL children area gift from God, but she would rather people view her daughter as a person first, with a wide range of emotions and characteristics, and not just “write her off” as a “blessing” or an “angel”. I do agree that the tone of the article was a bit course, but as a parent of a 14 year old boy I can also tell you that I stop people dead in their tracks when they try to tell me that my son is so loving, or that he’s always happy when they don’t even know him. I tell them politely, but firmly, that he is a person, not a Collie, and that he experiences a wide, wide range of emotions and behaviors, as we all do.

    Gigi, mom to a 14 year old dude, who is DEFINITELY a gift from God AND a very whole person capable of all kinds of frustrating and entertaining antics, like most other 14 year old boys……..

  20. by Erin Sheldon

    On October 24, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I totally agree with Gigi and the author. My daughter has a different genetic syndrome, where kids are often described as “angels” and lumped together in descriptions of them that almost suggest they are too disabled to know they are different, or too disabled to know better than to be so cheerful. I find it really diminishes the way that my daughter has had to CHOOSE to be cheerful despite some really big challenges. She has earned her personality through lived experience.

    I have so much respect for my daughter. She has the most buoyant good spirits of anyone I know. She is persistent while learning what matters to her. She has been so resilient through hard times and major medical issues. She protects her right to self-determination with quiet steely confidence. I feel that generalizations about “angels” as always happy and a blessing from God really misses the mark. Maggie is a remarkable kid on her own merits, as part of the whole individual package of the girl, disabilities and all. Both my kids are blessings but Maggie is not a blessing BECAUSE she has special needs, she is a blessing because of how she is forging herself as a girl with strong character, deep values and huge motivation.

    There are times I have the patience to deal with well-intentioned people and their gushings about blessings from God and then are the times I don’t. Calling her an “angel” is like saying she isn’t working hard to be all the things she is, despite huge obstacles, not least the attitudes of other people who don’t see her intentional hard work. Kind people are lovely, but kindness without respect for Maggie as an individual is just charity, and my kid needs respect more than she needs charity.

  21. by Kim

    On October 25, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I freaking love this. I had the advantage of a brother muscular dystrophy, so people who knew me knew better than to try the `extra special` bs when my daughter was born with downs. They understood Iris was the gift from God, downs syndrome and breathing issues be damned. Just like my brother was a blessing, despite his inability to walk. They also knew that the more she displayed her temper and independence the happier we were!

  22. by Deb V

    On October 29, 2012 at 11:18 am

    and exactly what would my “agenda” be, Shira? That’s just nonsense. How does calling the author out on her dismissive attitude towards a woman who saw value in her daughter is “judgmental”? Really. I think your “lens” must be a bit foggy. Try again. I have a son with down syndrome. Do I think he’s a perfect angel? Absolutely NOT! I NEVER stated that. But I’m not going to think snotty thoughts about someone that comes up and points out things they like about my son or think he has value. That’s just plain silliness. Especially when you’re confronted with someone who explicitly voices FEARS of such a disability. My goodness!! Seems to me YOU are the judgmental one, Shira!

    When I was presented with a situation where a new mother found out her daughter had DS. She was actually considering adoption because of her fears. I went to visit her in the hospital WITH my son who has DS and explained they are more like “typical” kids than not. She was scared to death she couldn’t parent a child with special needs. THAT is what helps people when they are faced with fears like that. NOT to dismiss them as morons! THAT is what is judgmental!

    And to compare me to people who make cruel comments like “you’re child should be aborted because they aren’t normal” is asinine!! Get a clue!

  23. by Elizabeth

    On October 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Great article, I think as parents of special needs children we all do the best we can to raise our children. Labeling them does not help, they are all individuals in need of loving parents to guide and love them. Amen sister!

  24. by Trish Agnew

    On November 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Deb V, for the record, I agree with you. Both of my kids are special needs, adopted at birth in the USA. Right on sister!

  25. by Molly

    On November 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Yes. This 100x this. Nothing irks me more than this stereotype. I called my professor out on this last week.

  26. by Jenn

    On November 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Had my son at 23, he was born with DS. He was my 3rd child. Gestation was 31 weeks tough guy he is. I was told how strong he was he had too much tone. My son is 7 now and gives his teachers a run for there money! Note he is not like this at home. Angel wouldn’t describe him cause he would rip his wings off immediately. I love him for who he is just like my other daughters. I as a parent don’t see DS and I have to remember expecting the outside world to feel the way I do and what I’ve been through at that moment is just not realistic. I was a young mom pregnant with a healthy boy who happened to have DS. I sure would love to of had some positive around me or even seen a parent interacting with her child with DS. How about educating? Compassion does this exist anymore? Sorry for no punctuation.

  27. by Tamara J

    On November 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    As I was reading these comments, I am reminded that the world is defined as the glass half empty or half full mentality. Some as I see it think negatively, like the author and others such as Deb V. see it in a more positive way. I am the grandmother of an autistic granddaughter and I fully believe she was a gift from God just like the other 11 grandchildren I have. as a Nurse who takes care of children with traches and vents in their home I see most of the parents think negatively, I truely believe it often becomes that way because of the unknown futures and what they have experienced. I always try to shed the positive light. Nobodys wrong or right, your a believer or nonbeliever and that is your choice.

  28. by Chey

    On November 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Calling a child a gift of any sort is turning your child into an object, a thing, a possession. They’re people, human beings, geez… A blessing, sure, that’s less materialistic, but a gift?!

    Anyways, the author celebrates her child for being who she is, not what she is, and the lady who came up to her at the beach obviously thought kids with DS were deformed, funny looking, with severe issues. Upon seeing the authors cute kid she was relieved.

    This is such an obvious read, I don’t know how some of y’all missed it.

  29. by Jon Augenstein

    On December 10, 2012 at 10:19 am

    My daughter Rebekah turns 13 in December. She was born with Downs Syndrome and spent 3 months in the hospital fighting for her life. In June she was diagnosed with leukemia. I knew she was more likely to get it, but I prayed she’d be spared. We are six months into treatment. What can I say about her… she is the toughest, strongest person I know. She has endured much in her life and now she has to endure chemotherapy and all that goes with it. I would never be a pleasent and strong as she has been. I am totally impressed with her. She ain’t no angel, she’s something better, she is a real human being who teaches me what it means to be human. I can’t tell you how much I love her, or how much I pray that she will make it through her 2-1/2 years of treatment.

  30. by kelly

    On January 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    youre so rude. that woman was having such a hard time and somehow you helped her. sure, it was the fact that everything was so “normal”, but you helped her that day and somehow you use your own situation as a way to be a rude selfish person. people tend to look at little children. you notice it because she has DS. People try to not ignore the situation and be nice and you just crap on them. great your daughter is flesh and blood, then why did you feel the need to write about her. rude rude rude.

  31. by Kelly

    On January 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    im not trying to be mean, but i have zero children with down syndrome and two very “normal” kids and people tell me all the time that my kids are cute, nice, gifts from god, little angels… do you think they should just say nothing to yours? they are actually treating your child the same as they would any other child. isnt that what you want? and i dont think they mean your child is an angel as if they do absolutely nothing wrong. i think you people are looking for something to complain about. and as for the author, she found a lady in pain and in need of some assurance and instead of recognizing it, she found it more appropriate to mock her in a more public setting. how nice of her as a human being! ugh, what is wrong with people! I am sorry that you have a child with down syndrome, but that does not give you the right to be rude and judge everyone that speaks to you! perhaps it is you with the problem and not the people who are trying to be nice and considerate!

  32. by Kiki

    On January 25, 2013 at 11:51 pm


  33. by Kiki

    On January 26, 2013 at 12:12 am

    First. Dial it down. The crazy lady on the beach who thinks she might have a downs baby but doesn’t know for sure, is nuts. And then whispering, god must have sent me here. Okay lady, maybe it’s time you have a chat with your obgyn or a psychiatrist.
    As for the gift from god controversy…really ladies. I don’t think so. God gave these women a baby but genetics got in the way. Whether you want to go and say that sure, a downs baby was a gift from god, only that mother can say. And no one has the right to judge her on that. We all want our kids to be viewed like any other kid but it doesn’t work that because It just doesnt. There’s the geek, the bully, the smarty, cutie, the weird kid, the gay kid…etc…we are all different ..,you may not see as quick as with downs, but that’s what every kid faces. Being accepted and fitting in.

  34. by Seriously?

    On January 26, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    It’s amazing how bitchy and petty your commenting authors/bloggers are these days, Parents. This woman’s up in arms because someone called her daughter an “angel”, when (of course) she exhibits imperfect behavior?

    Are you kidding me???!

    To each their own, but I consider my child an angel. I am beyond blessed to have him. He is a miracle, the most fun I could ever imagine, the most work, and the biggest reward. I’m not at all religious, but there it is.

    You need to find some bloggers with their heads on straight. I’m tired of the whining.

  35. by Josie

    On January 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I agree with a lot of the posters on here, Deb V, and some of the others. I get your point and agree with it. The lady on the beach needed some reassurance about a possibility of a DS child, and the author instead degrades her. Whether you believe kids are a gift of God or not, have some compassion as kids aren’t pets or toys. The author makes it sound as though she regrets having a DS baby! Too bad for her!

  36. by Sandy

    On January 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I have a son with intellectual and physical development disabilities who is now a young man. I appreciate everyone’s comments. I don’t believe the pregnant mom meant anything bad by her comments. She truly was fearful her child would have down syndrome and wanted to get a better understanding which you gave her and she appreciated. I too get frustrated however, in this case, this was new to her; she was overwhelmed and I believe she was sincere.

  37. by Staceyjw

    On January 30, 2013 at 4:10 am

    To all those who are convinced that “all kids are a gift from god”, and who are offended this mom wasn’t thrilled her DD was called an angel, who was there to teach some random woman something:
    Not everyone believes in god, or angels. Some of us see children as wonderful, amazing, lovable, humans, not a “gift” from a supernatural being. As if being a human isn’t enough to make a person valuable! I don’t get offended by someone calling my kids a “blessing from god”, but I do wish religious people would realize that not everyone thinks like they do.

    To the author : I liked your article, and appreciate your opinions.

  38. by ZG

    On January 31, 2013 at 2:15 am

    All children are a gift from God. Period.

  39. by Geri

    On January 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Wow. This article reminds me of one of those Facebook status updates that some one posts to appear that they’re making a valid point, but it’s actually a thinly veiled attempt to get attention by creating controversy/drama.

  40. by Julie F.

    On February 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Personally, I think ALL children are gifts from God.

  41. by CMC

    On February 4, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Just a tip ladies…it’s not “down’s child”, it’s child with down syndrome, just like it’s not diabetes kid or autistic kid. the syndrome or disease does not define them, it is merely a component of who they are.

    and, agreed ALL children are gifts…even if you don’t believe in God.

  42. by linda vellucci

    On February 5, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    If only the whole world would appreciate “different” folks as gifts from God.

  43. by LCP

    On February 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Nice article. I might change the title as all children are a gift from God. I am sorry about your experience with the narcissistic mother-to-be. Maybe God sent her to the beach and to you so that you could write your article. ;-)

  44. by Susie

    On February 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    What a great story. I like how reading a different perspective on these special children. I was an older first time Mom, so I had concerns for my daughter. I didn’t do the prenatal test when I was 7 months, we were going to have her no matter what.

  45. by Sam

    On February 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I am not the mother of a DS child but I am the niece of a 66 yr old DS man. My Uncle is stubborn and can be very hard to handle. My grandmother had him in her 20′s and in those days anyone with DS or any other disability was institutionalized. He spent hi childhood in an institution and later he moved into a group home. He now resides with one of his sisters who takes care of him. For so many years DS was looked at not as a “gift from God” but as a curse, I see the point in this article and I think it came from a very loving mother who wants everyone to see that her daughter is a normal child who happens to be rockin an extra chromosome. However, I will take people thinking it is a gift from God over the thought that it is a curse. I am glad that we have come this far, hopefully in the near future we can see that though all children are a gift from God that we should try and see children with DS as their parents see them, their child, messy, stubborn, silly. They are children and I think their parents as such, just children no more, no less and in being children they are a gift from God.

    My Uncle is 66 yrs old, he has had a difficult life but in his later years we have tried to give him a happy life filled with family and love. Sadly yesterday we received news that he has leukemia. It is in the last stages, the doctors say we have 6 months to a year. We will cherish every moment. When he was born they said he wouldn’t live to be an adult, then they said he wouldn’t make it past 50. He has exceeded every expectation and to me he is a gift from God but at the same time he is just my Uncle, silly stubborn and hard to handle but he gives the most endearing smiles you have ever seen.

  46. by Pam

    On February 9, 2013 at 6:07 am

    EVERY child is a gift from God.

  47. by Alisha

    On February 9, 2013 at 11:45 am

    FOR SHAME!! I hope you people being judgemental of this woman exercising her right to express her opinion ARE NOT CHRISTIANS. You are a distasteful and judgemental lot of self-righteous women who think your worldview, opinions and beliefs are somehow superior to everyone else’s.
    DO UNTO OTHERS. If you don’t have something nice or fair to say – go back to your real lives and leave this woman alone.
    And if you really care about it that much, ask to write your OWN article for instead of writing cowardly, anonymous comments on someone else’s article.

  48. by Kacey

    On February 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Those who say certain things have nothing to do are very misinformed. In Jeremiah 1:5 it says “before I formed you in thewomb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.” Every child comes from God. He didn’t cause things to happen but allowed it to happen for a reason. Some of the happiest, sweetest people I’ve ever seen have Down Syndrome and they help others to stop complaining about stupid things. They help you find joy in even the hardest things. They are very special human beings even their mothers find them a “burden” yes it has to do with biology but who do you think created biology? God did!!!!! Before you start writing articles make sure you are informed before you start sharing incorrect info. It is very misleading and irresponsible

  49. by Elisabeth

    On February 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Huh. How about being proud that your sweet little daughter made a stranger more aware and less afraid. She saw your daughter, and decided that even if her child had Down Syndrome, it would be ok. Her compliment was to your child, she is happy and well adjusted. I’m a single mom and people tell me all the time how they are surprised by how “well adjusted” and “boyish” my son is … just like a woman can’t raise a masculine child. Hey, you know what, it’s a compliment – they are telling me that they had a stereotypical viewpoint, and seeing me with my child changed that. She was telling you that she felt like there was a reason you were there for her to see that day – so she would stop worrying, that even if her child had some differences, it would be ok. I think it is sad that you aren’t joyous that people look for the beauty in your child when so much of society will always only see the negatives.

  50. by Love

    On February 11, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I appreciated the author’s attitude. The woman didn’t target her to talk about her daughter, but her own self. I dislike people asking me if I have kids as an opening just so they can vomit all over me about their own.

    Regardless of faith beliefs, pregnancy is the result of sex- nothing more, nothing less. The process is miraculous, but not every child is a miracle. That’s just every day biology.

    The true gift from God is a child having a parent who acknowledges them as a human being and treats them as special to them but not expect everyone else in the whole world to worship them.

    My child is a birth control baby. If I was not religious, I would view it simply as one of the not-100% outlier or a medical failing. Since I am religious, I weighed my logic with my emotion. I chose faith, not life.

  51. by Louis Febelkorn

    On February 12, 2013 at 10:00 am

    The author(pictured above) looks like she has a few extra chromosomes herself…Thanks to a more modern immoral society…people are pretty much “ripped off” so to speak when it comes to finding that perfect mate to reproduce with..because otherwise she would have been left behind a dumpster…just look how unhealthy/sickly she looks in her “best” picture…then she describes her children and has such a negative tone towards a good samaritan who we dont come across very often…her husband couldnt have been “ripped off” any worse!

  52. by Azalia

    On February 13, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I grew up with a brother with SMA. It was hard on all of us, not because of his disability, rather because my parents were unable to cope with his disability in an effective manner. My father drank and my mother was angry at the world. As time went by we all adjusted, but never once did my mothertreat him any differently than the rest of us. My brother left at our home at 18, just like we all did. Graduated from NYU, found an apartment, got married and has two children. All because he was expected too. Children are children not because of their disability but because they are. We must love them because they are a part of us.

  53. by Karen Rodgers

    On February 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Dear Ellen,

    I think you may have misunderstood the lady you spoke to..when people say a child is a gift from God, they do not usually mean that the child is angelic, merely that God has a plan for each one of us and that each child whatever their quirks or difficulties is made to be loved.When I was expecting , meeting another mother with a Down’s child and seeing them so happy together, gave me great confidence that whatever lay in the future, by God’s grace I would cope with it.

    warmest wishes,
    Karen in Cambridge UK
    (older mother who also refused all pre-natal testing)

  54. by Nigger

    On February 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Awww shit nigguh what are you doing?

  55. by A. Fmly

    On February 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Wow. Disgusting. She sounds like a sour, awful jerk. Wouldn’t want to be friends with her. I have a child much more developmentally disabled than she does and I am a “cup half full” gal all the way. Thankful for everything I have and every moment I have. How dare she even remotely make that pregnant woman feel bad for trying to see the beauty in her daughter and trying to feel less nervous about her pregnancy. And, please don’t mention you’re Jewish. You’re obviously a self-hating Jewish person (I can also comment on this because I am Jewish). Judaism believes that these children are brought into the world with perfect souls to help make US better people. Uck. I am so disgusted. Who needs someone like this writer being touted all over, Huffington Post and more. Is this goodness being brought into our world?!! Write it in a diary, lady. See a shrink. Just keep it to yourself. Oh, and shame on you, Ellen Seidman, for putting this out there.

  56. by Daniel Mccarthy

    On February 17, 2013 at 3:17 am

    I am a 51 yr grandfather to 11 grandkids ages 11 to 1 yrs. old. Only 1 is by blood , I love each and every one of them the same and treat each one the same. But have a time alone with each of them so we do something together 1 on 1 . They all know it when it is their time for 1 on 1 with pop-pop and under stand when it is not . And sometimes it is the girls or boys in pairs of close ages or the whole group . I do what they want ( Beach , Mud bog racing ,shopping, libary or just playing cars on the floor ). Two were born that would fit in my big hand and spent many weeks in the hands of Kings Daughters Hospital of Norfolk Va. . My bleesing came from everyone that took care of them and prayed for them. The last will have his healthy 1st birthdaty this weekend . His unborn brother will be tested for DS this week coming . I and my family and extended family will treat and raise him the same as the others . His brothers and cousens will only know him as family ,(as the rest ) , and will protect and kick ass against any one who picks on him as they do each other.The way I raised my family is that we stand by Family , God and Country.That is how it has to be , DO NOT CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK OR SAY. THANKS , Amen

  57. by Jenn

    On February 18, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I believe every child is a gift from God and children w/DS etc are so great they don’t have to go through the drudgery in life that we all have to. They may be in a state of hitting etc in this life but when we die you will be amazed at the person your daughter really is. She is special but should be allowed to live as normally as possible. I have a cousin w/DS and she is in high school, has gone to the Prom, a great guy asked her and took her, she plays w/my daughter.. Her parents are doing a fantastic job of raising her and may even move when she is an adult to help her lead as normal a life as possible as an adult. But we all know that she is someone VERY special from God. My Aunt said she is the reason her children are so much closer, that they needed her in their lives to be a closer and stronger family w/many more kindnesses etc than they ever would have learned w/o her. She is from God as you are and we all are.

  58. by Margaret

    On February 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Deb V, well said! I agree with you. She is a gift from GOD. I hope your comments and others here will help this mother to see that clearly, open her heart to the special gifts that little girl bring into her life and the lessons she can teach us all. Of course, no one wishes to have a child with special needs but when they arrive we love them just the same. I have two adopted children, created a mixed race family and know that many people “couldn’t” raise a child like that, as I have been told…so sad, they are missing out on all the graces GOD so willingly gives those with faith, love and charity in there hearts. Children in all circumstances bring us joy and suffering, help us to grow in our lives, open our hearts, heal our wounds, bringing us closer to our Lord.

  59. by cristina

    On February 18, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I know that was an ignorant negative cold article..probably just trying to get a reaction from real moms. People would die to have a baby and some have disabilities. God sent them to us for reasons we may not know. To help the weak become strong or non believers become spiritual. Children are blessings no matter how you look at it.

  60. by Sharon Fralin

    On February 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    The faith I grow up in helped my husband understand and except our daughter that was born with Down Syndrome. It was a hard time for him when she was born. I didn’t think like that. She look great in bright pink and we would find everything she needed to make it in this world. My point everyone see’s it differently not one way is the right way. We should all know this being parents or family/friends of a disability child. One Love

  61. by Sharon Keller

    On February 21, 2013 at 6:14 am

    All this pro-”God’s gift” talk reminded me of the time an organization I worked for issued a press release about a fundraiser for “our very special people”. I spent every day helping my adult clients to be as “unspecial ” as they could. That whole “special angel” mindset is depersonalizing, stigmatizing and incorrect, (and was, in this instance, exploitive to boot).

    I have yet to meet an adult with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities ( such as those with DS) who would choose to live with their limitations if they had a choice. I cannot imagine worshiping a god who saw fit to screw up someone’s chromosomes to serve as “inspiration” to those less handicapped.

  62. by Cathleen

    On February 21, 2013 at 11:06 am

    You just made my day! This was one of the best blogs I have ever read. I’m going thru some issues with my 6 year old and the truth is, our kids are our kids first and everything is secondary. Thank you for sharing!

  63. by Kimberly

    On February 22, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Aren’t all children gifts from God, so many don’t stop to count their many blessings every day, mom’s who don’t feel that way talk to many women facing infertility and would love to be in your position! Yes parenting is hard but I still wouldn’t trade it for anything!

  64. by LS

    On February 22, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Oh Hallie – I understand you – your daughter is not some precious little snowflake because she has DS – you love all your kids and it is kind of irritating because people like to single her out as special to make themselves feel like accepting people when really she is no more or less special then any of your kids. Your kids will always be special to you because they are awesome but it is a little patronizing when someone else suggests that the one with ds is more special because it gives them a personal warm fuzzy to be so accepting. And you are trying to keep 3 kids from drowning each other, like you really need a random stranger adding their emotional baggage to your day because they are 42 and needy. Life tip: Just because someone has a chile with Downs Syndrome doesn’t make them a 24/7 cheerleader for every older mom that might fear her kid isn’t typical. Grow up Deb V etc, it is not her job to be everyone’s beach shrink.

  65. by misty

    On February 23, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Every child is a gift from God lady i hope u have accepted jesus christ as ur savior……………

  66. by Emily in Wonderland

    On February 24, 2013 at 2:32 am

    Why can’t every child be a gift from wherever the heck they came from? God, your uterus, whatever? Why CAN”T they be a gift? Isn’t every child a gift, beautiful, awesome, an angel, beautiful, amazing, etc.? Every kid has meltdowns, and smacking your sibling in the head with a shovel isn’t exactly crazy behavior either- it’s pretty normal, and it should have illustrated to that woman, OMG, if my kid has this, it’s not the end of the world- look, this kid is normal! She’ll play and laugh and pitch tantrums just like any other kid- AWESOME! What a gift!

    What the heck is wrong with that?

  67. by dom

    On February 24, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I don’t understand the negativity towards the blog. You were just pointing out how your child is just as different and special as an other child. She shouldn’t be sterotyped just like no other person or child should be sterotyped. We are all unique. I personally do not have a special needs child but my daughter goes to daycare with a very special little boy. She’s only one and loves hanging out with all the children especially him. I think all children are special and should be described accordingly. My little girl is my little monster and when I describe her as so, most people look at me like I am a bad parent. But I only describe her antics as they are… monsterous. She gets into everything and throws you the “but i’m so cute” smile when you tell her no. But with all of her hellion ways, I proudly claim her as MINE! Bravo to the author for doing the same. I APPLAUDE YOU!

  68. by Janknitz

    On February 26, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Thank you, thank you for this lovely piece. I’m the mom of a kid with another genetic disorder (I have it too). My pet peeve is the “Welcome to Holland” thing. Ugh!

    My daughter was a complete surprise after 11 years of infertility. I was so grateful for the pregnancy and to have this beautiful child who is smart, funny, sweet, easygoing, and loving (and occasionally exasperating, too!). Her special needs have been an inconvenience in my schedule with all of the doctor and therapy appointments, the testing and the treatments. But so what? I thank G-d she’s healthy (she escaped the often serious medical complications of the disorder)and it’s meant time spent together.

    I didn’t even expect to be “let on the plane, let alone get to Paris” to carry the analogy too far. “Holland” is just perfect for me. This child could NEVER be a disappointment to me.

  69. by StephanieMM

    On February 26, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Everyone has said what I think. It can come off both ways but her point was that to her her daughter is merely just one of her kids. She’s grateful for all three of her children one of which has anther genetic disorder. But people dont run up to her and tell her how angelistic her albino son is so why is it different just because her daughter has downs? Which , if you ask me, her daughter barely looks like she has down syndrome.

  70. by Jen Fein

    On March 2, 2013 at 3:47 am

    Someone needs a spa day. Poor pregnant lady.

  71. by Philippa

    On March 8, 2013 at 2:20 am

    I absolutely love this article!!!!

  72. by Jessica

    On March 8, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I don’t normally comment on articles, but I loved this story and was very surprised by the negative responses. Apparently, people can’t get passed the title, because the article itself is very loving of the child with DS and clearly stated that the gifting part is not the issue. It is the stereotype that is implied with it. The lady at that beach was very offensive. She didn’t say that all of the author’s children were gifts, just the one with DS. So, yes, she was implying the stereotype. I bet if she started the conversation with the author as, “What is life really like with a child with DS?” the conversation would have went a different way. Instead, she insulted the author with the gift comment and erased all of her worries on one short observation — which would offend any parent – who wants their kid judged based on 5 minutes? Based on that, I don’t blame the author for leaving the conversation. Nicely written!

  73. by wendy

    On March 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    As many folks have expressed ALL children are divine gifts,created by God. Perhaps this mom isn’t as Jewish as she thinks she is but only as promoting a prejudice (JAP)…I understand that u want her to be viewed as a child first then descriptions later as we all do to escape and not encourage pigeon holing people. However, you must also dispel those myths and prejudices that your average folk that’s only kbown Down Syndrome or peanut allergies or albinism through inaccurate media and no personal experience. The woman that came to you wanted reassurance and honesty as we all do as long as its polite and sincere—from your heart that God also gave you. I’ll be praying for your family.

  74. by Hailee

    On March 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I think all babies, even if they have down syndrome autism, ADHD.. or are perfectly “normal” they are all divine gifts from God and they are all precious!

  75. by Hailee

    On March 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I see where the author was going with this and I totally agree that people should not label kids with disabilites, but I just think it should have been presented differently. To me she does come across as hateful. I mean especially toward the woman who was looking for reassurance. I mean kids are kids, no matter if they have DS or any other genetic disease. No child is an “angel” all the time, but they all are sent to us by God and we as parents should realize how blessed we are to have them. No matter what they will bring us joy and sorrow throughout life, but we are to love them and guide them. I really hope that the author sees how truly blessed she is to have her children and I pray that if she doesn’t know Jesus Christ as her Lord and savior she will come to know him.

  76. by ILoveGod

    On March 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    This is either poorly written or was specifically made to anger Christians. Was this about the child or you disrespect for God? I could not tell. I personally believe all humans are gifts from God and pray your rude reaction did not affect this mother. You as a “jewish princess” should understand the power of words and even a non-religious person should be capable of understanding the strength required to confess that to a stranger. She thought she had found confirmation and maybe even an ally. This woman was alone, according to the author, and for all we know maybe she has a disability or it is common in her family. It is never okay for anyone to respond to another human in this manner. Even with an intention of talking about herself the new mother began the conversation.

    I can not stand when people say it is not their job to educate someone. If you encounter someone’s ignorance when they are requesting information you have no right to be put off. Who’s “job” is it to share experiences with other humans? Do you get your diagnosis from a doctor or “WebMD”? Sure, there are places with further reading and more information, but poorly executed blogs like this are not a sink for experiences. That is why we need each other.

    Instead of taking her approach negatively all you had to say, and think, was “I love all my children.” Conversation over, stranger helped, no disrespecting God in blog entries. God wants us to be hot or cold, and I understand now because I spat this lukewarm blog out.

    I have prayed for you, your family, and this woman, though I wish I had never come across this blog.

    Personally attempting to love everyone.

  77. by Ben Wilder

    On March 22, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I am 34 years old. I have a 41 year old sister with Downs Syndrome. When I was very young, I thought we should treat her like any other person (as opposed to special treatment). I thought that was being fair to her. Validating her, I guess? As I’ve gotten older, probably around the college years, I realized we need to celebrate her for being so special. Sure, she’s not exactly like a “normal” person, and thank God! So whether you think this article is good or bad, I think we could all agree that it’s important to celebrate diversity, because with that comes different perspectives we can learn from. Honestly, there have been many times, because of my great sister, I wish I had Downs Syndrome. She’s amazing and I will never think she’s a normal girl.

  78. by Colleen

    On March 29, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I’m not 100% sure why, but your story really aggrivated me. I cant have children, so yes, a child with Down Syndrome would be a gift from God. Any child, with or without Down Syndrome, can grow up being quite a “hellion”. You sound so ungrateful for the blessing you have. As for the woman at the beach, perhaps she’s ignorant when it comes to the facts about Down Syndrome, but for her to say she’s been up all night worrying and is truly concerned says enough. That was your opportunity to educate her with what you know and to help her see things for what they are. Honestly,to all the women in the world who can’t have children, you sound incredibly selfish. I work with special needs children every day of my life. They ARE a gift from God. Children with disabilities have a way of teaching full grown adults lessons that they may never have the opportunity to learn. I bet your daughter would be really hurt after reading this.

  79. by Jess

    On April 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    I loved your article and appreciate your writing it. After a healthy, planned pregnancy and beautiful birth my son was born with a cleft lip and palate. No one told me he was a “gift from God”. I was instead told that “God choose me” and “God won’t give you anything you can’t handle” and about 152 people sent me the “Welcome to Holland” piece about unexpected challenges. I do not believe God chooses to inflict children with pain, with surgeries, or even with extra chromosomes. When we classify children in special categories (the “chosen ones” vs. the typical blessings) we forget their actual humanity. It is not a compliment, it does not increase or affirm one’s own faith, and it certainly isn’t fair to the children you are deeming to be the chosen ones. Making this a faith issue would miss the point entirely- I saw this as a reminder to treat ALL children as they really are. My friend who has a DS child gets frustrated when she is told what a great mother she is by strangers. She is a mom. She loves her kid. She is, actually, wonderful, but that’s because she just is and not because Down Sydrome gave her superpowers. Humanity is not improved by judgements of who is more blessed than the next person, or who is a gift or who is not. If you see a child who is not typical, say “Congratulations”. If you need to, add “every child is a gift from God”. For Heaven’s sake, don’t pretend they are somehow in a different realm.

  80. by Amy

    On April 2, 2013 at 10:16 am

    You can’t lump “all kids with Down’s Syndrome” in the same category. Thats what I got from this story. She doesn’t sound ungrateful to me at all. Just an average mom sick of people stereotyping her children.

  81. by Vlad

    On April 8, 2013 at 9:20 am

    “She throws, and hit’s, and has tantrums…”
    Hmmm… sounds like my granddaughter (and probably many others…
    God’s shows how much He still loves us, by sending us hope in shape of babies…
    My sis told me of DS child that said, when looking at a cross “that one looks like God but isn’t..” and a tabernacle “That one doesn’t look like God but is…”
    Just wisdom from the mouths of babes

  82. by Sharon Moore

    On April 11, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I was shocked by the negative comments as well…
    Of course it’s fine to disagree with something, but not before having made an honest effort to understand what they’re saying!
    I found this woman disarmingly honest and funny, and sincere in her respect and love for her daughter as a unique individual rather than a ‘disabled child’. I found her writing to be a refreshing change from the gushing and saccharine triteness usually produced by well-intentioned people, and a good reminder that not everyone is going to intepret every stock phrase in exactly the way I do.
    Could she have been more polite and nurturing to this random woman on the beach? Certainly. But then, couldn’t most frazzled mothers trying to keep their gleefully misbehaving offspring from committing fratricide with a plastic toy respond more graciously to those they encounter? I don’t think I even had to ask.
    Also, it’s absurd to insist that everyone find it comfortable and appropriate to be approached by proprietary strangers interested in one’s children, just because many appreciate it. The author has a right to have different boundaries, and to express them. It doesn’t make her rude, cold or selfish. Here in France it would have been the ‘invasive’ stranger, not this mother, who would have been considered disrespectful; certainly cultural and communitarian expectations play a role in one’s ‘comfort zone’.
    I’m a Christian. I believe each child is a gift from God, and this is a beautiful truth for me. But that doesn’t mean that other people who don’t share that perspective, or who are turned off by that terminology, love and treasure their children any less. The world is full of agnostic, Buddhist, Jewish, etc… mothers who adore their children just as much as we do, and who are pouring their lives out to provide for them. The suggestion by so many commenters here that no woman who expresses herself differently from ‘us’ can possibly be a worthy mother is deeply offensive. Can’t we simply appreciate that different people experience and express things differently, and embrace it?
    This could have been a valuable occasion for mothers to assert the individuality and worth of their children, could have led to a much-needed discussion of the sensitivities and boundaries of families with special needs children, but descended instead into bickering and some shamefully petty, and even intentionally cruel comments.
    These comments… I hope no one writing off-topic or catty responses here read beyond the title of the post, because otherwise the poor reading comprehension displayed is quite frightening.

  83. by The Truth

    On April 16, 2013 at 12:11 am


    There is no “god”.

    Babies are not a “gift” from said mythical “god”.

    Last time I check, your “god” wasn’t in the bedroom, couch, car, shower, wherever the child was conceived. Unless you call your boyfriend, husband, FWB, drunken one night stand “god”, then his penis didn’t come into contact with your vagina.

    “God” didn’t carry a baby for 9 months. Hence, there was no “gift”, it is called life which is a part of evolution.

    A child is the product of the participants of the sexual encounter. Ergo, this talk about gifts from god is silly and highly illogical.

  84. by sav

    On April 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Wow there are a lot of haters out there! If any one thinks this woman wrote this for u to hate on her and judge her then read it again…5,10,100 times again so you can get the whole picture. Anything taken out of context can look or seem different than how it was meant. She put herself on the line here- we are all born as gifts to the world, not gifts of god since we would ALL have to believe in god for that to be true to all. No one says “what a gift” or “angel” unless its an infant. When they say that of an older child (18 mo and up) they definitely are referring to them being “not normal” and that’s what the author means…its nice to be nice and we dont want anyone harped on for being nice, but the authors opinion…WHICH WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO OUR OPINIONS.. is that, for her, the person is really pointing out flaws (which they are unintentionally) and she would rather they point out something else in the child more specific. We are all born with positive or negative outlooks…sociality can help or teach one new skills but we are who we were born..some think when u were born (astrology) determines your way of thought…no one really “knows any truth” but we all know we are snowflakes…no 2 alike completely…so we are entitled to have our thoughts and different ways of thinking. That leads to different perspectives. Just because she had some “thoughts” that one might not agree with you are crazy to judge that. Mom SAID absolutely nothing hurtful or harmful to the older preg.lady…who I agree was being a tiny insane(as we all are when expecting). The lady got what she needed out of the experience and her perception of it and the Mom simply had an afterthought that she wanted the world to know. She felt it was important to say simply…kids are humans first and everything else after…ALL of them. That is all she wants to convey…nothing more…so if anyone wants to comment on her negativity of HER OWN thoughts to herself or the “crazy preg.lady” or their opinions on the whole “gift from god” subject then u are entitled to your opinion on those things but its not her point and it is rude to take someones inter most thoughts and vulnerability and throw it back in their face especially when their point is so valuable and true in this case. We all think things we wouldn’t takes courage to write them down when presenting a different, valid point. The article was wondrous and got people thinking which is also good. I feel sad for those who feel the need to express rudeness in print. You are just hurting the one person who was brave enough to get u thinking….how about expressing your views in a more positive way..since what u did deb v and others was say rudely what u thought was rude(taken out of context)…so while mom was being rude in your opinion, you are actually being rude(back) AND a hypocrite since you are saying rudely she should not be rude. Also you can not tell anyone to not have their opinions or their perception/outlook or feelings or especially their thoughts…not gonna happen.peace out…..yes I said that!

  85. by sav

    On April 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I do find it interesting that everyone who expressed negative thoughts on this article does believe in god and is using that to feel like its ok to berate the author or be rude…..goes to show what organized religion does to people…are u guys Catholic specifically? Kind of joking here but They do love guilt and using rudeness to fight rudeness….but people open those eyes. My god ( I am spiritual not organized) would disagree with these tactics…which is what they are. The basics of every religion in the whole world are the same…love, treat others how u want to be treated, wrong to murder and cheat and do things with mal-intentions. Stop there-ish….getting too deep into the religion with rules and crap is where it goes awry..this is a whole different concept not meant to interrupt this blog but to just put out there everywhere…all religions have the same intentions…when we try to play god or say what we think god would think it gets scary..god is us but it doesn’t judge, period.

  86. by sav

    On April 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    God gave us some of the beginning and free will. We cramped all over what god the entity, not person, gave us. Could Adam an eve have joined the world where dinos walked and big bang happened as well as evolution and we are all of different human strains? Nothing really contradicts each other…could it all be true!? Couldn’t it? Were YOU there? Science is real. Biology is real. God/something as a bigger force is real because it accounts for “miracles” aka, things/situations that science cannot account for. Whatever happened or happens now people need to keep thinking for themselves and not let religions or any other people tell you how or what to think. Amen……he he..I think I’m done now

  87. by sav

    On April 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Cramped=craped as in pooped….I caught all the other “helpful” changes my phone gave me….and yes I’m being facetious with a sarcastic tone when I say helpful!

  88. by sav

    On April 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Silly phone! I caught all the other “helpful” changes but missed this one…cramped= craped as in pooped. Yes I’m being facetious with a sarcastic tone when I say helpful!

  89. by AltB

    On April 23, 2013 at 1:55 am

    I agree 100% with Deb V and Colleen. The way this author treated that woman on the beach was plain rude. It sounds more like you have a chip on your shoulder about your child’s condition. Coming from an Autism Mom, I strongly believe that my child is a gift from God. Yes, all children are, but I especially appreciate being blessed to see her persevere through her challenges. When someone else acknowledges what a happy and lovely child she is, that is a reflection on me and therefore a huge compliment. The world in general can be very cruel and unwilling to understand so people who take the time to show that they care are always welcomed in my life, strangers or not.

  90. by AltB

    On April 23, 2013 at 2:35 am

    There is a trend going on in modern society. They’re calling it “snarky” detached cynicism with a little touch of atheism. It’s all fine, right? And to the ones saying “you Christians are always attacking people,” consider that you’re attacking and judging too. Expressing a different perspective is not an attack. I don’t care about people believing in God or not. It is your right to do so or not. What I do care about is people thinking they can be rude and insensitive just because they don’t believe in God. Bottom line, there is no harm in being polite when someone compliments your child. No, you don’t have to go into a long monologue, but a simple thank you and good luck with your birth and delivery would have been just as article-worthy.

  91. by kristi

    On April 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    People who say your child is a gift from God aren’t always just some idiots trying to say : “Your child is a perfect angel baby puddin pie.” Maybe that lady was a first time mom who hasn’t faced the reality of life with kids. The meltdowns happen with all kids and although canned responses about God at times feel trite, the authors attitude of trying to “keep it real” devalues& denies her child’s deep and rich significance as an image bearer of the mighty and beautiful everlasting creator. God does give us the gift of children with all different needs not only for them but also for us, to make us less selfish more patient… the list goes on and on and on.Rather than bear that burden our society aborts babies that may possibly have some issue an shoves old people (who should be honored) out of sight. Now to read about a mother with this type of attitude truly hurts my heart. I hope your daughter meets someone one day that tells her what she truly is- a gift and an image bearer of a glorious God.

  92. by leigh

    On April 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    What a rotten person to claim her child is not a gift from God! Life itself is a gift from God. Why should children with disabilities be any different? This is absolutely the most insensitive mother i have ever heard. People use the gift quote to reassure parents, not because they think certain children are only sweet and cuddly. What a moronic thought. I do not know of one person with Down’s who is thought of as being only angelic. Quite the opposite in fact! I hope the author is actually not as rotten a mother as she appears. Maybe this article is simply be used as a stunt to garner publicity for a failed writing career! The way she threw in the problems of her other children make it seem like she wants to play the martyr role, all the while pretending to do the opposite. A better person would appreciate the fact that, though her child has Down’s, she is able to verbally communicate and live like children without this disorder. Is the author not aware of how grateful other parents would be to hear their children speak to them? walk? potty train? attend school in a regular classroom? have a mental capacity even CLOSE to that of their same age peers????????????? Most people I know claim ALL are a gift from God. How sad this author has missed that. How disrespectful she is to equate being Jewish to “princess” stereotypes. It would have been wonderful had she put “God” and “Jewish” in the same sentence. What a pathetic human being.

  93. by Michelle Gorry

    On April 27, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Wow Leigh – you sure are negative and took that story a whole different way to what I did. I too have special needs sons – 3 in fact – and one is Down Syndrome – and you do get sick of the stero-typical things people say ALL THE TIME. The author did say her child was a gift – but human and not some angel floating around never doing wrong. Sure, my son is cuddly, loving and cute – but he can smack his brother in the face with a stick or point blank refuse to get in the bath – that’s all she is saying. You totally miscontrued and misunderstood the whole “feel” of that article. Besides when all is said and done – you can’t blame God for children having disabilities – he created everything perfect – man ruined it! Make the most of your child no matter the form of disability he/she has!

  94. by Dave

    On April 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I love the ridiculousness of the comments posted here, why does everyone have to acknowledge god’s involvement? You know it all jackasses have faith… great for you. keep it to your fucking self.

    First and foremost she loves her child. Not every parent wants to walk around like a poster board for parents of disabled children. Her life is her own and whether she wants to act like a role model for other downie expecting parents or not is her right.

    But your rambling idiots will inevitably find a way to link her love for her kids as some sort of sudo Judea Christian gift. SHUT UP.

  95. by Colleen

    On May 5, 2013 at 11:02 am

    It has always been my opinion that we need people in our lives that are “less capable” “other abled” or whatever PC thing you want to call them. If there were no people with needs how would we learn compassion, empathy, charity, selflessness, and grace?
    A child with downs syndrome is not the ONLY human that falls into this category, but they do fall into it. When people say they are a gift from God to me that just means that God has thought you responsible and mature enough to provide the extra care they need.
    Helping someone less fortunate, for whatever reason they are less fortunate, affords you the opportunity to grow, mature, and become a better human being yourself. ANYTHING or ANYONE that allows you to do that is a gift if ever I saw one!

  96. by Defining Disability | Culture Shock

    On December 16, 2013 at 8:00 am

    [...] of subtly damaging stereotypes.  This might be an unpopular opinion, but, interestingly enough, it’s actually one shared by many parents of children who have special needs. (And for an insightful read about what it’s like to grow up with an adult relative with a [...]

  97. by Sniffles and Snippets | Tabby Cat & Hazel Nut

    On October 29, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    [...] title of this piece is a bit off-putting, but the piece itself takes an interesting look at the ways in which people [...]