A friend recently told me that her friend reads my blog and is glad she does because she said it helps her know what terminology to use, otherwise she wouldn’t be sure. I found that really interesting.
It brought to mind a post I wrote when Coraline was three weeks old but I never posted it at the time.
Here’s what I wrote:
“To preface this post - we absolutely meet any comment from anyone with love. We are happy in ourselves and accepting of what anyone says; this post is more just to state what people say to document our experience. On our first phonecall from a visiting health professional she began, "I'm sorry to hear your baby has Down's Syndrome," and I thought perhaps we don't need to have "sorry" in that sentence. She said she would bring round centile charts particular to babies with Down’s Syndrome, to record weight and height growth, as growth velocity can be different (slower). It was interesting to learn that this is the case as I had not known.
A new midwife visited in our first week and said, "so compared to normal babies. Ah hang on I don't want to say normal, I'm struggling here and you're the ones helping me". And Kevin replied, "what about ‘babies without Down’s Syndrome’?" Of course we are new to this too and we appreciated her showing her vulnerability, just as we too don't quite know how to phrase things yet, but we will learn, and we will all learn together! That is all part of our journey.”
Now that Coraline is older, we have learned the phrase to use is “typical babies”. We have also learned that the terminology is “a baby with Down’s Syndrome” as the baby always come first and that the only abbreviation would be D.S., otherwise the full two words. Now this last one we knew from the start: for us, what we wanted to hear when Coraline was born is - “Congratulations, your baby is beautiful”.