They say when you become a mother your life changes completely. I had heard this all my life, but on the 1st of August 2017, I started to believe it too. I still remember the moment my precious little angel came into this world. But unlike the experiences of many, my moment wasn’t entirely happy. It wasn’t because my baby had Down Syndrome that I felt sad; rather, it was that the people who delivered the news of his diagnosis to me said it with so much grief in their voices that I thought that maybe my son's condition was sad indeed.
Being a physical therapist, I was aware of Down Syndrome before giving birth, and I understood the therapy requirements that may be associated with it. That said, I wasn’t completely aware of its consequences. ("Consequences" was the world my son's doctors used at the time. Today, I use the word "possibilities".) Even before my family could properly introduce themselves to Laksh, he was whisked away and put in the NICU. After a few days of tests and examinations, we were finally in an informed position. That's when we learned that Laksh has Down Syndrome and Hirschsprung’s disease.
Those days were very confusing for my me and my husband. In the first few days of our son’s life, we were told about all the things he would not be able to do and all the difficulties he was going to face. In moments of weakness, I cried. I cried every day, before I went to visit my son in the NICU and after I came home in the evening. But as I sat at his bedside looking at his tiny hands and feet and his big, beautiful eyes, I refused to accept that he wouldn’t be able to do the things that my husband and I had wished for him since the day we first found out that we were pregnant.
I decided to do research about Laksh's condition on the web, but that didn’t help either. Then, I reached out to some other mothers online and heard their stories. I was relieved when I heard what their children have done and are doing. There are some who are entrepreneurs, some are actors, some dancers, and some are baristas, among many other things, but the takeaway for me from all of this was that these children were doing what they wanted to. They did not listen to the world when it told them that they couldn’t, and neither will my Laksh.
Laksh turned two on August 1st. He walks and has just started to run a little. He says a few words like "Mumma", "Dadda", "Book", and "Nana" (grandfather in Hindi), but most of all he communicates with a combination of acts and words. He can sign a few words like "more", "all done", "milk", "water", "shoes", and "socks." He loves music and can open the YouTube app all by himself and play his favorite songs. Every single day, my little munchkin is learning something new and teaching us as well.
The reason I want to share our story with the world is that I do not want any new parents to go through what we did. I want all parents to celebrate their children and not worry. I want other parents to look at us and see how lucky we are to have been blessed with such a beautiful child. Despite what Laksh's doctors told us when he was born, we are on a wonderful journey. I want other families to believe that they are going to have the same journey or an even better one with their little guy or girl.
Follow Smriti and her family at @livelifelakshsize on Instagram or check out her blog here.