#1146 Dear future mom, I have Down syndrome and a lifetime of love to give

Video for World Down Syndrome Day

One of 15 young people with Down syndrome addressing a worried pregnant mother; photo clip from video below

The worried mother’s letter to CoorDown, expressed a fear I’ve heard many times from pregnant friends: “I’m expecting a baby. I’ve discovered he has Down syndrome. I’m scared: what kind of life will my child have?”

CoorDown, a national organization for Italians with Down syndrome, hired the advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, to create an ad campaign in response to that poignant query. In the video, 15 young people with Down syndrome give reassuring answers to the future mom.

It is a joy-filled, touching video CoorDown hopes will reassure parents worried about the future of their Down syndrome children. That it has gone viral is not surprising.

Will it change hearts? That’s hard to say. Among the blizzard of comments are many from people who would abort a child they knew would be born with Down syndrome. I don’t judge them for believing they do not have it in them to be good parents to a child with special needs. None of us can crawl inside another’s heart, nor live another’s life. But I hope knowing more people with Down syndrome (and there are some standouts on this blog) will raise expectations and rewrite the future.

Children don’t come with guarantees. What they do come with is a set of challenges. They need parents who can handle the curve balls. My mother could. My father couldn’t. Parents don’t come with guarantees either.

This campaign may help ease fears and erase some stereotypes about children born with Down syndrome. What makes it so effective is the skillful storytelling. Without denying the challenges, it holds out the prospect of joy.

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