In honor of October being Down Syndrome Awareness Month, mom Oakley Peterson from the blog Nothing Down About It is sharing her inspiring story of turning fear and uncertainty over her newborn son's diagnosis into joy. In fact, as she says in a new Facebook video—which has 4 million views, and is featured in a post on the Very Jane Facebook page—the world could use more kids like her boy Welles.
Peterson and her husband dreamed of having a perfect little boy to add to their family, which already included a daughter. But in the moments after their son was born, "The nurses started whispering in the corner," Peterson recalls.
Even though she'd done a prenatal screening that appeared normal, it turned out Welles had Down syndrome. At first Peterson was in denial; she'd thought that only happened to babies whose moms were in their late 30s. She cried for days, worrying about her son's future.
But soon, she and her husband would learn that a Down Syndrome diagnosis didn't mean they couldn't have their "perfect" little boy.
A visit from another family with a child with Down Syndrome helped them to flip their perspective on Welles' diagnosis. "You just hit the jackpot," the new mama recalls the parents saying. They also told her their family's lives would be more fun because of Welles. And according to Peterson, that prediction has absolutely come true.
Now, Peterson wants others to focus less on what's hard, and more on what's joyful about a Down syndrome diagnosis. "Welles gives me more hugs than anybody," she says, adding that her son's quality of life is better than perhaps anybody's, because he is so happy and loving.
"I think we need more Welles in our lives," she concludes, and hopes her family's story will reach other parents who are scared and overwhelmed at their child's diagnosis. Because ultimately, her message is that there is nothing down about Down syndrome.
Join the conversation online using the hashtag #StrongLikeYou.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.